15 August 2011

Pornographic Divination

by Phil Johnson

NOTE: (added 11 May 2012):
A rather persistent critic has questioned the accuracy of this blogpost's title, and he has been spamming multiple forums with his complaint—which is based on some artifically narrow definitions. The following definitions are from The Oxford English Dictionary:
  • porn o graph’ ic adj. pertaining to or of the nature of pornography; dealing in the obscene
  • por nog’ raph y n. The explicit description or exhibition of sexual subjects or activity in literature, painting, films, etc., in a manner intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic feelings; literature etc. containing this
  • div i na’ tion n. The action or practice of divining; an act of divining; insight into or discovery of the unknown or the future by supernatural or magical means; (an) augury, (a) prophecy.

n a post last week, I pointed out that the preposterous claims, unhinged behavior, and spiritual quackery that are so prominent at the charismatic movement's lunatic fringe are by no means limited to the outer edges. Goofiness and gullibility are necessary byproducts of a belief system that fails to take seriously the principle of sola Scriptura and its ramifications (i.e., the authority and sufficiency of Scripture). Here's a sample of the kind of thing I was referring to: The video below features Mark Driscoll, claiming the Holy Spirit regularly gives him graphic visions showing acts of rape, fornicators in flagrante delicto, and sexual child molesters in the very act. WARNING: This is an extremely disturbing video, for multiple reasons:

  • This is bad teaching. The biblical "Gift of discernment" has nothing to do with soothsaying and everything to do with maturity, clear understanding, the ability to make wise and careful distinctions, and (especially) skill in differentiating between holy and profane, clean and unclean, truth and falsehood (Ezekiel 44:23; Hebrews 5:14).
  • The counsel Driscoll gives is bad counsel. If by his own admission Driscoll's divinations are not "a hundred percent always right," he has no business accusing people of serious sins—including felony crimes—based on what he "sees" in his own imagination. Much less should he encourage his congregants to dream that they have such an ability and urge them to "use that gift."
  • The salacious details he recounts are totally unnecessary. They serve only to reinforce the concern some of us have raised: Why does Driscoll have such a fixation with obscene subject matter, ribald stories, and racy talk? The smutty particulars regarding a counselee's tryst in a cheap hotel are not merely unnecessary; "it is disgraceful even to speak of [such] things" (Ephesians 5:12).
  • For that same reason (among others), these yarns aren't even believable. The Holy Spirit's own eyes are too pure to behold evil, meaning He cannot look on wickedness with approval or aloofness (Habakkuk 1:13). So why would He display pornographic visions to Mark Driscoll, whose mind and mouth are already too lewd anyway?
  • This proves that cessationists' concerns are not far-fetched. Reformed charismatics frequently complain that it's unfair for cessationists not to expressly exempt them when we criticize the eccentricities of the wacko fringe mainstream of the larger charismatic movement. But Reformed charismatics themselves aren't careful to distance themselves from charismatic nuttiness. John Piper was openly intrigued with the Toronto Blessing when it was at its peak. (If he ever denounced it as a fraud, I never heard or read where he stated that fact publicly.) Wayne Grudem to this day endorses Jack Deere's Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, despite the way Deere lionizes Paul Cain. Sam Storms aligned himself with the Kansas City Prophets' cult for almost a decade. I can't imagine how anyone holding Grudem's view of modern prophecy could possibly repudiate what Driscoll insists he has experienced. Does anyone really expect a thoughtful analysis or critique of Driscoll's view of the "gift of discernment" (much less a collective repudiation of this kind of pornographic divination) from Reformed charismatics? I certainly don't.
  • Thus we see that the leaky-canon view leaves the church exposed—not only to the whimsy of hyperactive imaginations, but (as we see here) to the defiling influence of an impure mind as well:

"I see things"—Mark Driscoll
(click title to download .mp3 audio)

This excerpt is from a message titled "Christus Victor," dated 5 Feb 2008. (ht: Mark Lamprecht). Notes from that extended series of sermons have been published in pdf format here. (ht: Betty Taylor)

Some people actually see things. This may be gift of discernment. On occasion, I see things. I see things. Uh, like I was meeting with one person and they—they didn't know this, but they were abused when they were a child. And I said, "When you were a child you were abused. This person did this to you, physically touched you this way."

He said, "How do you know?"

I said, "I don't know. It's like I got a TV right here. I'm seeing it."

He said, "No that never happened."

I said, "Go ask him. Go ask him if they actually did what I think they did and I see that they did."

They went and asked this person, "When I was a little kid did you do this?"

And the person said, "Yyyyeah, but you were only like a year or two old. How do you remember that?"

He said, "Well, pastor Mark told me."

I'm not a guru. I'm not a freak. I don't talk about this. If I did talk about it everybody'd want to meet with me and I'd end up like one of those guys on TV. But some of you have this visual ability to see things.

Um, uh, there was one women I dealt with. She never told her husband that she had committed adultery on him early in the relationship. I said, "You know—" (she's sitting there with her husband). I said, "You know I think the root of all this—I think Satan has a foothold in your life because you've never told your husband about that really tall blonde guy that you met at the bar. And then you went back to the hotel. And you laid on your back. And you undressed yourself. And he climbed on top of you. And you had sex with him. And snuggled up with him for a while. And deep down in your heart, even though you had just met him, you desired him because secretly he is the fantasy body type." I said, "You remember that place it was that cheap hotel with that certain-colored bedspread. You did it—you had sex with the light on because you weren't ashamed and you wanted him to see you. And you wanted to see him."

She was just looking at me like—

I said,"You know, it was about ten years ago.

"I see everything."

She says—she looks at her husband. He says, "Is that true?"

She says, "Yeah."

"He was 6'2", blonde hair, blue eyes?"


Some of you when you're counseling you will see things. I mean you will, you will literally gift of discernment see things. I can't explain it. It doesn't happen all the time.

Sometimes your counselee, they will see things. Ye—eh—there's pa— I found this with people—ok, now let me—I'm gonna ask the demon questions. You tell me what they say."

"They don't say anything."

I say, "What do you hear?"

And they say, "Nothing." They say, "But I'm seeing stuff."

"Oh, oh, well tell me. What's that?"

"I'm seeing—you know when I was little my grandpa molested me. I didn't know that."

I said, "Well, let's not assume it's true. Go ask your grandfather."

Grandpa says, "Yyyeah, when you were little I molested you." Grandpa was assuming they'd be too young to remember. So he'd only molest grand kids up to a certain age. But they saw it.

It's the supernatural. It's, it's, it's the whole other realm. It's like the Matrix. You can take the blue pill, you take the red pill. You go into this whole other world. And, and, and that's the way it works.

So I say—tell me everything you hear, tell me everything you see. And sometimes I see things too. I see things too. I've seen women raped. I've seen children molested. I've seen people abused. I've seen people beaten. I've seen horrible things done. Horrible things done. I've seen children dedicated in occultic groups and demons come upon them as an infant by invitation. And I wasn't present for any of it, but I've seen it visibly.

Upon occasion when I get up to preach I'll see—just like a screen in front of me—I'll see somebody get raped or abused and then I'll track 'em down and say, "Look I had this vision. Let me tell you about it." All true. One I had—I was sitting in my office at the old, uh, Earl Building. This gal walks by. Nice gal, member of the church. This is when the church was small. And it's just like a TV was there and I saw the night before her husband threw her up against the wall, had her by the throat, was physically violent with her.

And she said, "That's it, I'm telling the pastors."

And he said, "If you do I'll kill you." He was a very physically abusive man.

She was walking by and I just saw it. It was like a TV. And I said, "Hey, come here for a second." I said, "Last night did your husband throw you up against the wall and have you by the throat, physically assault you and tell you if you told anyone he would kill you?"

And she just starts bawling. She says, "How did you know?"

I said, "Jesus told me."

I call the guy on the phone: "Hey, I need you to come to the office." Didn't give him any clue.

He comes in and I said, "Dude, what'd you do to your wife last night? Why'd you do this? Why'd you throw her up against the wall?"

And he gets very angry. They're sitting on the couch and he says, "Why did you tell him?"

I said, "She didn't. Jesus did. Jesus did."

. . . And there are some people that have real gift of discernment, and I'm not saying I'm a hundred percent always right with it, but some of you are going to have gift of discernment, and you need to—you need to learn to grow in the use of that gift. And sometimes people will hear things. Sometimes people will see things.

Phil's signature


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Matt F said...

Hi Phil,
I'm curious then what you would think of Nathan's conduct in 2 Samuel 12?
Thanks, Matt

Tom Chantry said...

Matt F,

Please specify the verses in 2 Samuel 12 in which the Holy Spirit played a porno flick in Nathan's mind in order to enable him to call out David.

When you're through with that you can take us through the verses in which Nathan preached publicly on the details of David's tryst with Bathsheba - including details of sexual positions - for the *cough* spiritual enlightenment of the people of Jerusalem.

When you're through with that exegetical task, you can perhaps direct us to the public and written confessions of the alleged adulterers, rapists, molesters, and other brutes whom Driscoll's prophetic gift has led to repentance. Look for something along the lines of Psalm 51.

See, anyone can claim to have a great prophetic story. I could, for instance, go into church next Sunday, relate a lustful dream I had when I was a teenager, and claim that people no one ever heard of had later confessed to doing everything in my dream. I'm sure the teenage boys in my congregation would get a kick out of it, but it wouldn't prove a thing.

Anonymous said...

Nathan did this because he was a prophet but Driscoll is not a prophet because we don't have prophets today. If we don't have the lesser gifts today such as tongues and healings then we certainly don't have the greater gift of Prophecy either.
Hebrews 1.1 says that in the past God spoke through prophets but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

Pam said...

God bless Phil for warning us and helping us to be on guard of such "teaching." Thanks be to God for people like Tom Chantry who use their writing skills to help us. One would think there would be enough things in the Bible for a minister to teach than to tell others about their dreams and fantasies and have the nerve to tell us they came from God. How very tragic. Do not our hearts grieve for our churches today? How do these teachings from this Mark fellow honor Christ and help the sheep who do not have a Shepherd? Thanks, Phil.

Ron Van Brenk said...


I can't even watch the video.

Driscoll is certainly becoming considerably more goofy.

Y'know, for all his alleged learning you would think he would know a little something about False Memory Syndrome. Something very popular a couple decades ago. And very evident here.

But perhaps it will take a lawsuit to tame Driscoll's alleged visions.
Recent lawsuits have sure tamed Shrinks of similar goofiness.

And if his Board of Directors can't get him to act civilly and promptly- your Courts of Civil Law certainly should.

Dakota said...


I'm not at all defending Mark Driscoll here, but could you please show me in the Bible where it says the gifts of Prophecy and Tongues are no longer available to modern-day Christians? Please don't let the devil rob you of a blessing.

In Christ,

"For the promise is unto you,
and to your children, and to
all that are afar off; even as many
as the Lord our God shall call."
-Acts 2:39

DJP said...

Dakota, almost as if paid to do so, perfectly provides an example of exactly what Phil has repeatedly warned against, and in the immediate context. "I'm not defending Driscoll, but... [defends Driscoll's pretext]."

Charismatics provide cover for charismatics, period. Not just the safe-n-sane ones. They realize it's a package deal.

Robert said...

He also has said that he hears the audible voices of both God and Satan. Does anybody else wonder if he is just a tool for Satan? Talk about somebody disguising himself as an angel of light...

Thomas Louw said...

I know you have answered the question that Dakota is asking here on many occasions.

Maybe you should give him the benefit of the doubt and post a few links, showing him how we get to this conclusion.

I believe it would be a good idea to take the time and invest in some standard post you can show people too that explains our view.
I think we could win some over if we could explain more and ‘slap down “less.

I’m not suggesting you answer every guy asking the same question, just write up a standard answer and refer to it when it asked for the millions time.

Hey you never know, maybe he never heard the truth.

Robert said...

I also wonder if he says that he isn't always right, why doesn't he give those examples and say what happens and how to handle that? Can you imagine if he confronted the wife about the tall blonde guy and it had never happened? The husband thinks MD clearly has this gift and must know what he is talking about and might assume his wife is telling lies. I guess the thought of that just doesn't give people much comfort, though. and that is what he is all about, it seems.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Time to write this guy off. No more free passes or "Well, he's got good guys working with him." If 'good guys' are working with him, he ain't listening. It's time to see him for what he is and move on. The sensationalism and self-aggrandizement has gone on far enough.
And, for any who would say I'm limiting the Spirit's working or doubting that HE can give these gifts... Aren't they supposed to be 'sign' gifts pointing people to Christ and edifying the church? I haven't seen anything in Scripture that says counselors will get visions of abuse so that they can help people deal with things that happened to them when they were babies.
The Mickey Mouse t-shirt seemed particularly apropos...

Thomas Louw said...


Check Pyromaniacs stuff under "DA Gifts"

wayner said...

While I disagree with most of what you have to say about Driscoll, I admit whenever he starts talking about visions and hearing directly from God I find it disturbing. It is not something he does in every sermon however.

Steve Talas said...


As always I appreciate your words, and the fact that guys like you and the rest of Team Pyro are prepared to call a spade a spade.

I appreciate all the excitement regarding the seeming revival in Calvinistic doctrines etc, but it would seem that these things have come at a steep price namely that the 'discernment radar' has been more or less turned either to it's lowest setting or switched off altogether.

I am flabbergasted by the fact that we now share conferences and read books by individuals who 20 years ago we would have theologically chased them out of town.

We have our fare share of this kind of madness here in the UK, Men who indulged in and encouraged Charismatic excess are now standing up and saying, "Well of course I've always had a Reformed view on Soteriological issues". Really? Is this before or after you were rolling around on the floor laughing like an imbecile? Or was it when you uttered you contempt and disdain at those sad lot who still prefer to sing Issac Watts as opposed to stuff that could have been written by a really mediocre College band? Perhaps it was when Todd Bentley was parading around like a demented cage fighter,all very sympathetic to the spirit of the Puritans I'm sure.

We talk about Wolves in Sheep's clothing, I fear we have the same preposterous Charismatic claims and ego's dressed up in a very cheap and ill fitting Reformed suit.

Rob said...

Phil, I agree that this is sick, and really sad (on a number of levels) but I'm still not sure of the take-away as to what he's really doing here. Is he:

1) Deliberately conning folks with parlor tricks, or
2) Is there something perhaps demonic driving his sick visions?

I really don't know much about Driscoll's background prior to this post so I'm not sure what his general sort of teaching tactics are.


Chris Roberts said...


But it's a valid question. The only reason I'm not a cessationist is I've yet to see it in Scripture. I've yet to hear a claim of the use of gifts that I thought was legitimate, so the evidence for the gifts is not there, but I've also yet to see a compelling biblical case for the cessation of the gifts. One (or many!) may have already been posted on this blog in the past and I've just missed it.

DJP said...

Yes, there are many compelling cases, and they've been made over and over.

Can someone believe in Christ, be saved, and still live like Hell? Also a valid question.

Which translation is the best? Also a valid question.

Does a pastor HAVE to know Greek and Hebrew? Also a valid question.

All of them share with yours (A) that they've been often spoken to elsewhere and (B) they're beside the point of the post. Plus, as I pointed out, the mere asking proves Phil's point.

Anonymous said...

I would submit that these "visions" are quite possibly demonic, rather than fleshly imaginations.

I am curious to know if Sam Storms has ever denounced the Kansas City "Prophets" and his involvement with them.

Brian Jonson said...

This was a very important article. Thank you for keeping us informed. You are doing exactly what the Bible commands us to do - protecting the Faith against subtle, demonic schemes.

Barbara said...

Wait-wait-wait....What I'm reading, the text underneath the video, is better situated in a little room underneath a sign with a palm facing forward and tarot cards underneath. So I watched enough of the video...I spent a little time in those rooms as a desperate, unregenerate young woman so I do recognize it quite well. They very often do "know things" and the ones who do, are involved in voodoo. I didn't recognize it at the time, because they had their "Mary" statues in the room and talked about their "church", but it was that whole syncretistic thing. What is described here in his own words is that same kind of sorcery and divination. This man is in real danger and he doesn't seem to realize it at all.

Anonymous said...

I worry about a private life here in Driscoll. Thinking it's normal to speak about these details openly in a crowd even! I hope he has some good accountability with his computers and in his private time.


DJP said...

Jules - let me tag off your comment, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your suggestion, to make this point: that is where Charismaticism puts us. Instead of all of us looking at the Word of God, to which we all have equal access, we are all forced to (A) take our eyes off Christ, (B) take our eyes off the Word, and (C) focus them on A. Given Charismatic's psyche and gizzard and experience and spirituality, in an effort to divine its genuineness.

That's the necessary baleful offshoot of this century-old distraction.

Anonymous said...

Ditto, DJP. Ditto.

donsands said...

Mark needs some serious exhorting. Thanks for dealing with this Phil. It's sad, and deeply distrubing. I pray to our Lord that he will bring Mark here to read and ponder your good words. Amen.

I wonder when any man becomes an authority in himself, if this is not inevitable?

Tom said...

I wasn't sure if I was watching a pastor or a rerun of Dionne Warwick's Psychic Friends Network.

Brad said...

you lost me at "gullibiliy"

James Scott Bell said...

As I read this, I had a "strong feeling" inside me that this is MD about to go completely off the rails, heading toward a serious fall. (Note: I'm not being facetious. I really felt it)

So what should MD do about my feeling/discernment?

Trent Cornwell said...

I have the gift of discernment (ability to compare what I hear to what the Word says). I just had a 5 minute vision (thanks to youtube). That tells me that Mark Driscoll is a liar.

Phil Johnson said...


Thanks. I've fixed it now. Read on. :)

jamesmcoats said...

When I heard him say these things what primarily caught my attention is that someone that abused another would just say, "yeah, I did that." No one that molested another and has gotten away with it is going to readily admit they did it. It's just ridiculous.

Tom, in reply to Matt F's question, you come across as harsh; is it really necessary?

Lee Shelton said...

Back to what Rob said: It clearly goes against scripture, but what are we to take away from this? Is MD lying through his teeth about these incidents, is he using other methods of finding out details and then confronting people in a deceptive way, or could these "visions" actually be demonic in nature? It seems this issue goes much deeper than not taking sola scriptura seriously.

Unknown said...

For the record, these comments weren't made recently.

I believe that they are from a 2008 message.

Anonymous said...

A couple more thoughts, from a former Charismatic:

1. This sort of behavior tacitly establishes the "pastor" as borderline omniscient. Driscoll says, "I see everything." I can attest that this was commonly practiced, and I'm from Kansas City. What manner of control does this give a man over his congregants?

2. What is the result of a prophetic "misstep" in which Driscoll accuses a church member falsely, hiding behind the "lower authority" argument as an excuse for his gaffe? As we know, the mere suggestion of impropriety can be condemning. How many lives, careers, marriages have been damaged by these less-than-reliable visions?

John said...

As Dave has said, I thought I read elsewhere (hereiblog.com) that this video series was from around 2008? If so, 1) Why has he been given a free pass and allowed to be fully entrenched in reformed circles for the last 3 years? And we all know who his main proponent was. 2) Why did it take so long for someone to speak out about this? (unless I've missed it elsewhere) Maybe we need more discernment ministries....? (j/k Frank!)

Moreso rhetorical questions than anything. But thank you guys for being bold enough to point these issues out. And btw who would really want to see this stuff in their head?

James Scott Bell said...

Just for the record, I'm not claiming my "feeling" has any authority. It just points to the problem discussed.

Mark said...


Since I posted audio and transcripts of these very words from Driscoll last week I thought about the same issue you addressed here. I was going to post on it once back from vacation, but I see you've all ready done so more eloquently than I could have...so thanks!

I couldn't help but think how Driscoll mentioned more than once that he could see these visions as if he was watching a TV. This made me wonder just how clearly he saw these sexual acts and if that is something God would give someone which could throw them into temptation.

Another point Driscoll makes is that he said he was a cessationist when these visions started. But I thought these gifts don't necessarily come to those not seeking and desiring?

kelly jack said...

So the abuser kills his wife for talking and the jilted husband abandons his wife, Bet he did'nt see that coming. But it was his duty to use his powers of discernment on these folks private lives. (just a what if)

Robert said...


I had the same thought about omniscience when I heard "I see everything". Of course that lead me back to the fact that this is probably demonic activity because the demons can see and hear what is going on with people...and we can see in Scripture that demons can even possess people, although I don't believe that this can happen to a believer because the Holy Spirit dwells within us.

Does anybody else find it funny that he says he doesn't talk about this stuff because he'd be like the people on TV? That almost sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm becoming more concerned that MD needs to hear the Gospel and repent instead of just not be a pastor/elder.

Brad said...


Thanks, I spent about 15 minutes trying to pronounce that ;-)

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

This is so tragic, but not unexpected news. And what is even sadder still, are those pastors who support and give a full endorsement to these false teachers. And we all know that once a person participates in, or gives a full endorsement to a particular ministry, or a particular ideology, or any movement of any kind, it is that much harder for those people to give a full blown, critical critique of it.

So many of these pastors are unaware of the blood they have on their own hands, but if they think they are NOT guilty just because they drove the get-away-car in a bank heist, think again. There’s a prison jumpsuit with your number on it. They’ve got your number, or, your numbers up fella. Our number can be up to, when we loose sight of satan’s wiles, when we loose respect for the enemy.

Light exposes darkness, and that is why it is so important to bring the evil deeds of the ministers of darkness to the light. So they can receive a public rebuke, and hopefully save many more brands from the fire.

Thank you, Phil Johnson, sooooo much, for sounding the alarm, if not, many would not know that the sky IS falling.

Sye TenB said...

I have a visual ability to see things too. I see Benny Hinn.

DJP said...

I would not list that in the "Gift" or "Blessing" column however, Sye.

Sye TenB said...

Rats :-)

Nephos said...

In a weird way Driscoll reminds me of Jack Hyles.

I don't know if it's the personal stories that demonstrate his superior spirituality ("I don't talk about this" as he's talking about it), the "macho" attitude, the borderline inappropriateness of his speech, the "hero-worship" he elicits from his fans (who deny it of course!)or something else I can't put my finger on - but there's similarity there.

Some won't be familiar with Hyles, but I'm curious if those who are see this too.

wordsmith said...

Sounds like MD took a page out of Kenneth Hagin's playbook. In one of his books, Hagin claimed nearly exactly the same thing (i.e., seeing in a vision a member of his congregation committing adultery).

So why does MD retain any credibility in reformed circles, again? The sooner he is dismissed, the better.

JackW said...

I had a vision of Mickey Mouse jumping over a shark.

... and I thought Shark Week was over.

Phil Johnson said...


. . . and others who may be new to our blog and would like to read our views on the cessationism/continuationism debate:

Here is a samping of posts where we have dealt with that issue:

You're probably a cessationist, too
Continuationism and Credulity, East and West
Cessationism Again

You can search Google to find others.

candy said...

Alarming. This doesn't seem to be "charismatic with a seatbelt" as Mark Driscoll describes himself.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

wordsmith said: "So why does MD retain any credibility in reformed circles, again? The sooner he is dismissed, the better."

The simple answer to that is due to the fact that many so-called stable, reformed charismatics, have given him a clean bill of health. Which is tragic; some honor the heroes in the faith, more than they honor the word of God.

That simple!

Jeremy said...

Dear Brother in Christ,

I viewed this video and then read your commentary and find your judgment of Mark Driscoll in this instance to be based on flawed assumptions.

It is not true that God would never go into detail about sexual acts, whether righteous or sinful. In addition to the whole Song of Solomon, I would offer Ezekiel 23:19-21 as an example (and one might also add Ezek 16).

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

God clearly does not shy away from confronting people with the details of their sexual sin. The necessity in speaking of the detail is in convincing the person to whom one is speaking that one has seen correctly. Yes, it could make for potentially arousing reading, but there is a big difference between porn for the sake of gratification and talking about life in a grown-up manner. Or do we go the whole way and assume that telling our children how babies are made is also "porn"?

Secondly, (and unsurprisingly, since you support cessation and I am an evangelical, Charismatic Christian who uses the gifts of the Spirit), your criticism of Mark Driscoll's visions or pictures of what is going on in people's lives is also misplaced. He appears to me, on the basis of this video at least, to be using the gift in a responsible fashion. You will note that he says that the people he told of his insights said that they were accurate. I have never seen visions of people's sins but have been shown pictures of their future ministries, and what Mark describes is entirely consistent with the visions that Joel said we would see (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:27)and with prophetic insights we find in the OT.

Sadly, if one assumes outright that prophetic gifts are no longer available to us, one will not be able to see any merit in them - but I hope that you will agree on the basis of clear Scripture that God does not recoil from describing our sins in the manner you suggest.

Blessings all,

Solameanie said...

When people ask about the cessationism vs. charismatic debate, you could always steal the line once used during the British Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament . . .

"I refer the right honorable gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago."

Seriously, I find it frightening how this sort of stuff and deception in general is sweeping the globe at warp speed. Yes, I know . . . I shouldn't be surprised, but rather expect it, as deception is supposed to increase in the last days. It still grieves me.

Another scary thought. We know that there are many antichrists in the world already, but the final one is yet to come. Most will embrace him with open arms, and I'm afraid that includes many among "professed" Christians who ought to know better. They're the W.C. Fields variety more interested in "looking for loopholes" in what they can get away with rather than obeying God's Word out of love.

DJP said...

So another commenter provides cover for Driscoll because he's charismatic.

I'll just keep reminding folks that this is Phil's point.

Jason M. Woelm said...

The comment made by wordsmith is right on. Here's the documentation on Hagin's "vision": Kenneth E. Hagin, The Glory of God (Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1987), 13-15.

Dan is right. Charismatics must necessarily give cover to ALL charismatics, or else the validity of their "gifts" will be called into question. Pentecostals never hung with Catholics until the Charismatic movement hit. Then, all of the sudden, it was "my Catholic brother/sister in Christ." My question: did we abandon justification by faith alone, or did they adopt it?

THIS is where "Reformed continuationism" is headed.

donsands said...

Jeremy, Does this sound Scriptural?

"It's the supernatural. It's, it's, it's the whole other realm. It's like the Matrix. You can take the blue pill, you take the red pill. You go into this whole other world. And, and, and that's the way it works."

Is Mark an Apostle? I don't think so. Peter and John were called to this calling as a foundation for us.

God is so good to give us His Word. We can know it, and stand upon it, and so-called prophets and apostles can not manipulate us. Surely God knows every secret of our hearts, and Driscol doesn't need to know them. I don't trust him as I trust Jesus.
He said Jesus told him about this woemn's sin.
I just don't see our Lord doing that through a young pastor, who has done many questionable things.

Jim De Arras said...

I do not doubt Mark is getting visions but the source is not the Holy Ghost. It is Satan and his demons showing him visions from the past, witnessed by the demons involved in the tragic actions. Demons are behind many visions, always in the past, though. They cannot see the future.

DJP said...

Yep. Brother A says something controversial about a Biblical text, and all eyes focus on the text, to make sure we have it right.

Brother B says something controversial about his experience, and he moves all eyes to focus on him and figure out what he experienced.

Charismaticism: Diverting Attention Since 1906.

Nash Equilibrium said...

I read the transcript.

Based on what has been posted here in past articles, I had been under the impression that Driscoll is getting ready to lose it altogether.

After reading this, I conclude that he now HAS lost it, altogether. This is borderline schizophrenic stuff.

Whoever the Elders of that church are, they should remove him from his post - pronto!

Amanda R. said...

I really appreciated this article. I have a 'biblical gift of discernment' but am a cessationist, so I spend quite a bit of time thinking about this topic.

When I 'see' or discern a situation, background, mood, or tone, it is nothing to me unless my conscious mind also kicks in with some tangible evidence. Otherwise I ignore it.

When I 'see' or discern a wrong spirit or a needed course of action, it is nothing to me unless the pertinent scriptures come to mind almost simultaneously. Every perception must be checked, every path must be supplied, by the word of God. Always.

And I never tell anyone to trust me. I never even tell people that I am discerning anything. People look for signs and wonders instead of to The Source, and I would never have them look to me for information or prophecy. Everyone I know with my same gifting has the same policy of silence. Anyone who puts up a shingle, "Biblical Discernment Here," is not on the Lord's side.

The ethical response to the Holy Spirit's leading is to pray fervently, verify with scripture, submit to the authority of elders and pastors, and to hold one's tongue unless convicted by the Spirit to offer rebuke, counsel, or teaching. For me, the 'doing something' is rarely required. I'm most often called to pray, and to shepherd my own little family through perilous times with God-given insight.

'Discerners' can be useful to church leadership, but rarely desire to lead. It feels like a conflict of interest, as if we understand that our ability to perceive on such levels makes us unfit to also have authority over others. Too much potential to become power-hungry or manipulative.

Also, understanding situations doesn't mean one have the God-given authority to set things straight, or the wisdom to be sure what should be done about what you perceive.

Lastly, here is something everyone should know if they are enamored by gifts of discernment: Not every spirit is a good one. I have extended family members who are witches, pagans, and Satanists. They have abilities of insight, but they serve another master.

Have a care, Mr. Driscoll. Pastors, feed and protect your sheep.

David Sheldon said...

Thanks for continuing to do battle regarding some of this modern day charismatic nonsense. It continues to amaze me that many believe the only source of accurate hidden information can ONLY be God.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Charismatic chaos indeed!

Unknown said...

Sarcasm incoming.

Did you know that if you believe the Holy Spirit reveals things to you or talks to you in any way (even if you believe it is nowhere near on par with Scripture) then you are non-Christian and a wolf or as a commentor so elequantly put it "a tool for Satan" [seriously?]?

Did you know that if you believe that the earth is not 6000 years old then you are an atheist devil and will burn in hell, because Jesus died to tell us the earth is 6000 years old?

Did you know if you are not circumsized you are not keeping the law and are therefore not a Christian?

Sarcasm over.

So much more could be said but I think I have made my point...

Amanda R. said...

I'm sorry, I'm saying too much, but I'd also intended to verify what was said about the Holy Spirit never showing someone visions of sin.

When I realize I'm looking into something dark or demonic, unless I actually witness the sin, what I'm sensing is an absence of Christ. A sense that the person or situation is being owned by sin and darkness; the situation, or the heart, is a place where God can't be.

God would not torment me with demons, which is how it would feel to me if He showed me the literal sins of others. It is an abhorrent and unholy misrepresentation of the character of God to claim that He is supplying such visions to His saints!

theinscrutableone said...

IMHO, one questionable assumption lies behind the charismatic manifestations that are going on today: that it's perfectly OK for a supposed prophet to have a hit-or-miss track record. According to charismatic doctrine, the NT era replaced the infallible kind of prophetic ministry that's plainly demonstrated throughout the OT with a mixture of truth and error. Whereas in OT days the prophet who falsely prophesied even once in the name of the Lord was subject to capital punishment, in the church age we are to expect that true prophets will often err.

This new state of affairs leaves us with two rather difficult problems: (1) how to discern which parts of a prophecy are true from the remainder that's false; (2) how to determine whether a given prophet is from God or not. Far as I can tell, the NT doesn't give us any instructions on how to deal with these problems, a rather significant omission given the magnitude of the alleged shift from fully inspired to semi-inspired prophecy.

In my opinion, the onus is on the continuationist camp to tell us just how we are to sift out the wheat from the chaff in a church age that's "blessed" with semi-inspired hit-or-miss "prophecy." With preaching we can separate truth from error by comparing it against Scripture, but preaching makes no claim of immediate inspiration: it is accurate only so far as it is true to Scripture. Prophecy does claim to be immediately and directly inspired of God so the standard must be far stricter. The problem would be solved if we would stick to the OT standard for judging prophecy, but that solution would effectively eliminate all prophets and prophesying since the Apostle John.

Dave (an ex-Charismatic and repentant false prophet)

Jerry Wragg said...

Jeremy -
You've obviously been confused by a very poor paraphrase. No actual Hebrew text of Ezek 16 could ever translate into such terminology. The graphic paraphrase you cite is just not there! It's as simple as that. Try to do some textual homework before you enter the discussion, rather than quoting some contemporary "per-version" of the Bible text. Or, just stay out of the meta...

Phil - Driscoll's simply not qualified to lead God's people. He's fallen into the snare of conceit, having been elevated by others before he's proven (shame on the irresponsibility of those "others"). Let's also not forget that his celebrity-supporters have been repeatedly warned for years not to hitch themselves and their constituencies to his trajectory. Driscoll's not becoming more mature as he "sheds his early-year tendencies." He's becoming more emboldened, reckless, stubborn, and self-duped. I pray that his excusers and supporters will be willing to admit their hasty (and patently pragmatic) endorsement of him, learn to apply the Scriptures more definitively regarding biblical leadership, and cultivate a new and vigorous discernment in the process.

Scot said...

Charismatics always talk about being wrong; even Driscoll mentioned it. However, I have yet to hear any story told in a public setting of a failed "prophecy" and a subsequent apology. It's always "I'm not 100% right" and quickly move on before anyone can really ponder that.

You might as well invite your flesh to a 5 course meal to gorge itself.

DJP said...

Which, really, think about it: "I could be wrong, but I think your ____ sexually molested you when you were a kid and you just don't remember it. Go ask/him for me, in Jesus' name, wouldja?"

We don't here the "after" stories on the FAILs, do we?

Charismaticism is of more than academic impact.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, My thoughts on this subject are very mixed because I have seen things the same way Mark described as I speak with people that I have just met. However, when I have seen these things they have not been graphic because I believe that God has been protecting me from these images at the same time God is using me to convict a person's secret. At the same time I have always been skeptical of what I have seen and many times uncertain as to what I should do with this information. That is why it is of most importance to pray that the Holy Spirit gives discernment to these things. I do not think Mark is a liar and if what he is saying is true he is very vulnerable to attack and we should pray for God's protection and wisdom to cover him. I find it to easy for me to point at charismatic things and say "this is weird" instead I must pray and ask God to help me discern what is from God.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...


Seeing as you took issue with what I said, I feel I should respond. When you look at the context of what MD said, it isn't just the Holy Spirit revealing "things", it is what MD says he is seeing. Do you think that God really has in mind that we should be seeing the sexual sins of others? Doesn't that sound like sexual sin itself? Does that make it more clear for you why I see this as problematic?

Jerry Wragg said...

"More than academic impact"

Absoltuely, Dan!

capewest said...

Mark Driscoll is off the rails and proves it in these comments. This is no different than the fantastic tales told by uber-charasmatics on TBN. Driscoll is straying into mysticism big time if these are the types of experiences he is having. He states in the video clip, "I don't talk about these things" while he is talking about them. Ridiculous and dangerous direction he is heading in.

Rae Whitlock said...

Phil: How long ago was this sermon preached?

Sir Brass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachael Starke said...

Note to self- consider waiting to read Pyro until afterbreakfast.

I agree with John re: the relative age of this, um, "talk". Maybe it just got lost in the midst of all the other stuff he was doing then around Song of Solomon?

And I have family members who have been plagued and tormented by voices for decades. It's called schizophrenia.

Phil Johnson said...

Mark | hereiblog: "was going to post on it once back from vacation.

Thanks for making it known. I hope you will still make that post.

What absolutely floors me is the way this turns true "discernment" on its head. Suddenly "discernment" is subjective (and admittedly fallible) prognostication rather than the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood. It makes a mockery of biblical discernment.

Those who I would think ought to be most vocal in denouncing this type of thing--the leading "Reformed Charismatics"--fall silent and thereby tacitly lend their support to it. In fact, some of them openly encourage similar kinds of augury in their own churches' testimony times.

This practice of equating one's own imagination with "prophecy" is in my view a looming, deadly danger in circles where the gospel is treated as the only important truth and all secondary matters are declared off-limits for any kind of critique.

JuiceToon said...

You guys are ridiculous.
Just sayin'.
He believes in the continuance of the gifts, as do I.
But watch this video.

Caleb said...

Rae:The series was almost 5 years ago to the date.

Phil: This post is silly and you know it. Everything in it is going to take us back to a debate of cessationism vs. continuationism. Call a spade a spade and don't build some ad hominemical attack in the process.

wordsmith said...

@Pastor Jason Woelm: Thanks for providing the reference. I had long ago divested myself of the copious Hagin materials that were once in my possession, and hence was unable to recall exactly which book it was in. But I did remember him going on and on about that type of stuff, with that specific example.

Sometimes I think that those of us who have been ensnared by charismaticism seem more keenly aware of the dangers posed by it. Once you've been burned by the wildfire, you're much less likely to take a "what's the big deal" attitude. Driscoll's antics are a big deal, and every time he pulls this type of garbage, he brings the name of Christ into disrepute. It is not being picayune to point this out, repeatedly if necessary.

Phil, keep up the good work.

Sir Brass said...

I had to remove my comment b/c I realized my own comment was in error. I may repost a corrected comment if I feel it is necessary (it may very well not be).

Unknown said...

This video is very alarming and reveals the lack of discernment that unfortunately even reformed folks are guilty of. I remember I was writing about Todd Bentley on my blog a few years ago. I made the argument that Bentley's teaching on healing and miracles was essentially identical to the that of more "moderate" charismatics. Despite the obvious absurdity of Bentley's antics, moderate charismatics were loathe to criticize him. In my series I argued that once one allows for charismatic principles to rule in one's ministry, the door is opened to all sorts of error because un-biblical revelations and methods of ministry are justified as moves of the Spirit. Yet Bentley was defended by many, and publicly endorsed by leaders of the so-called New Apostolic Movement. Later he went on to divorce his wife and marry his nanny, and some in the charismatic movement distanced themselves. Of course, others still defend him as a "prophet" and I believe he's already restored to ministry. This issue of whether one can be charismatic continuationist and still reformed isn't going away, and must be squarely faced. Thanks for taking a stand here.

Rachael Starke said...

One other, potentially embarrrassing but hopefully instructive, anecdote -

About nine years ago, I had a distinctively vivid dream about a situation involving two unbelievers I knew in a professional context. It seemed to perfectly mesh with things I'd seen and heard. In a moment of foolishness of Biblical proportions, I told one of the two about it. Not only was the situation nothing like I'd imagined, but I utterly blew my Christian testimony with the other one (he'd found out about it and confronted me about it in no uncertain terms). I begged his forgiveness, and our professional relationship continues, but to this day I have been reluctant to enter back into spiritual conversations with him.

That's what haunts me. This man (he's one of our family's doctors) is desperately in need of Christ. He's had some pretty open conversations with us about things in his life (thus my being privy to some stuff he wasn't telling others). And my moment of "sudden insight" blew giant, possibly irreparable, holes in my witness.

All because I did exactly what Driscoll did to these people, just with different results.

Tyler Wallick said...

Caleb - located in Waco, TX. Sounds about right

Defense of these shenanigans is indefensible.

wordsmith said...

For those complaining that the video clip is not of recent vintage, I pose this question:

Has Mark Driscoll ever publicly retracted his remarks in this video?

If not, then it's fair to assume that he still holds to the teaching he implicitly endorses in said clip, and he needs to be held accountable.

If he wants to plant his feet firmly in the charismatic camp, then fine - have at it. But then he ought to be honest and quit calling himself "reformed," since he thereby would no longer hold to all five solas of the Reformation. Sola scriptura is necessarily cast aside in favor of ongoing, private revelation.

Sir Brass said...

Rachael, not to mention that his own actions upon this "knowledge" were, from a point of protecting the person he was 'counseling' grossly reckless. You don't just call in a violent husband and confront him with information he threatened to kill his wife over (if that was really the case).

Even if we assume that what Driscoll is attesting is true, his own testified actions are nothing less than those of gross irresponsibility, from how he supposedly handled the situation to him telling of these things in detail to his congregation (even sans names... sometimes these events don't need names attached for others who don't have a need to know to figure out WHO).

Nothing at all in this "sermon" transcript commends MD to be worthy of the office he claims he was commissioned by God for.

Robert said...


I can listen to Rick Warren talk to one group of people about his doctrinal beliefs and see him totally contradict them with another set of people. If you're telling me that the words MD spoke in that video make up for what he is talking about in the one Phil posted, then you are wrong. False teachers always blend in a good amount of truth before unloading all of the garbage.

Phil Johnson said...

Sir Brass:

You're right, of course, that the Habakkuk verse does not mean the Holy Spirit cannot observe what we do when we sin. We could add to that the fact that the Holy Spirit doesn't have actual "eyes."

What the Habakkuk verse means is simply that God cannot look on sin with approval; He is offended, utterly displeased, and repulsed by it. This is in fact one of the ways His perfect holiness sets Him apart from us: He does not derive pleasure from and cannot be tempted by the prurient details of anyone's sin.

The point I was making holds, however: if the Holy Spirit cannot look with approval on sin because He is too pure, why would make an exhibition of people's private sexual sins to the mind of someone who clearly IS susceptible to lasciviousness and fleshly lust? As the title of my post suggests, to do so would make the Holy Spirit a pornographer, and it shouldn't take an advanced degree in exegesis to see that whatever the Habakkuk verse means, it certainly precludes such a notion of how the Holy Spirit works.

JuiceToon said...

There is a complete and utter difference between the likes of Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Joseph Prince and Mark Driscoll.
You've got to be kidding me. Driscoll preaches the gospel, he is faithful to the word of God. He is not a part of the Word of Faith movement. I find it disgusting that you are grouping a brother of Christ with the likes of Word of Faith heretics. He is only 'charismatic' in the fact that he believes in the continuance of gifts. That is all.

Here Mark Driscoll explains, oh so much.

Robert said...

Sir Brass,

What is even worse is that in mentioning those situations without names, it might provoke countless others to do the same with unimagined results. Just imagine what will happen if somebody gets killed over reckless actions such as this...surely a violent husband that has already threatened to kill his wife might actually follow through on the threat if confronted.

Jeremy said...

Jerry Wragg, I think I may have caused confusion by accident: the verses I quote in detail are from Ezekiel 23:19-21. This may not have been apparent because I mentioned Ezekiel 16 in parentheses immediately before the quote, which I admit was confusing.

Sir Brass said...

"What the Habakkuk verse means is simply that God cannot look on sin with approval; He is offended, utterly displeased, and repulsed by it. This is in fact one of the ways His perfect holiness sets Him apart from us: He does not derive pleasure from and cannot be tempted by the prurient details of anyone's sin."

Phil, agreed. Something didn't sit right with me so I went back and looked at the passage again and realized I'd missed the point. Thus the retraction.

Robert said...


I don't recall any other pastor who is truly "faithful to the word of God" talking about a woman's sexual position during an extra-marital affair. And if he was trying to provide enough detail, I am sure the hair and eye color, along with it being ten years ago, would have been plenty. And I agree with Phil that the Holy Spirit isn't going to cast those images into the minds of men...that is NOT in line with Scripture. The Holy Spirit doesn't throw out temptations towards our sinful desires.

Stuart Brogden said...

Voddie Baucham preached a sermon on finding the will of God at our church from Romans 12:2 that Driscoll needs to hear and should be mandatory for all: http://mp3.sa-media.com/media/8141123285/8141123285.mp3

What Driscoll is doing is channeling the spirit of the age.

Jeremy said...

Could I ask a question, just for the sake of clarity? Does anybody on this board who is so quick to attack Mark Driscoll and other charismatics actually ever rejoice when somebody is healed of a sickness by the power of God, or thank God when a sinner is shown their sin by means of a spiritual gift and thus repents and finds salvation?

Paul said...

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. These things seem to be missing in most online discussions. "You just proved my point!" is not a loving, peaceful, gentle, kind, and patient answer...

Jerry - I believe the graphic "paraphrase" that was quoted was from Ezekiel 23, not Ezekiel 16. Ezekiel 23 *is* graphic. Yeah, the English words used are not what we are familiar with - "flesh" and "issue" are the translated words. But it is quite graphic. I took a look at the Hebrew words along with a dictionary/concordance.

"Male organ of generation" (euphemism) for "flesh" and "flow, issue (of seminal discharge)" for "issue."

It sounds more like the translators used a "nicer" English term, at least for the second one ("issue"), perhaps because of the way the KJV translated it? I'm not sure. We have specific terms for what is translated "issue," and from the concordance/dictionary, it does not appear that that Hebrew word is used for anything else nor was it a euphemism.

I am not agreeing with Jeremy, but I don't think your first paragraph is correct :)
- Paul E.

Tyler Wallick said...

Jeremy - show your work. Imagining scenarios do not make them so.

Anonymous said...

I loved Dave's comment. Thank you, theinscrutableone.

And, while this is can be an incendiary topic, I want to thank Phil for his clear and consistent teaching on it.

Unknown said...


If Driscoll got up every single Sunday and started to talk about his personal visions that he recieved and completely ignored the word of God or told people that if they are not personally recieving visions, then I would be inclined to agree there is a problem. But he doesn't do that currently. This blog has taken an issue that occasionally comes up at Mars Hill (direct gifts from/communication with God) and made it the center piece of what the people who attend that church supposedly believe.

Well the contributers and many of the commentors (especially the commentors) here are incorrect. Not only on their assumption that God no longer works in peoples lives, but also the assumption that the people at Mars Hill are charasmatic and are doing the whole silly "speak in demonic sounding demonish type tounges deal" or the "God told me we would x" or get x, or whatever.

The reality is the focus of Mars Hill is the Gospel. People here think Driscoll is getting "worse", when in reality the Gospel is being proclaimed more and more.

That and the fact that "tools of Satan" generally have a hard time regularly and repeadedly proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins won by Christ on the cross and how Christians were dead in their tresspasses and sins but are made new and imputed the rightousness of Christ.

Make no mistake, I am not trying to defend subjective visions from God. But the Bible does make provisions for visions and prophecies and it no where states IN THE BIBLE that those gifts have stopped. In fact, it is not hard to argue that when one properly exigetes texts that are prophectic to this day and age (think second coming of Christ), they are in effect becoming a prophet. They are proclaiming what will happen in the name of God by the Word of God...that is prophetic, the very gift argued to have ceased being used long ago.

One of my favorite discernment radio hosts, Chris Rosebrough, constantly states that the context of discerning whether or not someone has a specific gift from the Holy Spirit (like prophecy or visions) is that what they say coincides with the Bible and that they are focused on the Gospel.

Just to reitterate, because I know the clearer words here are going to get torn appart, I am not necessarily stating Driscoll is correct in his statements on recieving visions...BUT I know he is a Christian, that God has saved him, and that Driscoll will be in heaven because of his faith in Christ. And Mars Hill as a church is moving to work for the Gospel to go forward, not charasmatic subjective visions...that is my point.

Sharon said...

This guy is really fixated on the sleazy. I really question whether he is a believer at all. I mean, really, preaching in a Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Kinda reflects his view of doctrine.

WV: whapo (what MD is, IMO)

Chris said...

Driscoll "sees things" huh? Things like this??

Well, here's what I see: a rebellious nomad who claims to be a pastor called by God into the ministry, yet who should have stepped out of the pulpit years ago for his outrageous behavior and demonstrable spirit of rebellion to any and all counsel given to him by faithful men. He's a guy who is now revealing that he has indeed arrived at the place in his "ministry" where many were concerned he might wind up if he continued on in his downgrade. What a theological and moral mess he has created for himself, but even worse for all of those who think he actually still has something worthwhile to say as a so-called, self-appointed minister of the gospel. Sadder still for the lost who watch this character blatantly disgrace Christ before a watching world.

And I didn't need special revelation or even inference to see that, just everything Driscoll has so proudly put on display for everyone to see and hear.

JuiceToon said...

One question.
Did Mark say he wanted to see the 'visions'?
Do you think he lusted after that woman that was in that 'sexual position'?
All he did, to that couple, was honestly tell back what he saw.
By your logic, me talking about, or being around, or retelling a situation of a friend who injects himself with heroin and me watching him, means I cannot be faithful to the Word of God. Saying how the needle went into the vein, the slight, pinching, stinging feeling and the feeling of an emotional high and comfort and peace you are getting your hit.
Did he take part in the sexual act?
Did he lust over the woman or the act being committed?
ALL sin is equal to God.
All sin leads to death.

Tyler Wallick said...

Unknown - Straw Man. You can do better than that

Aaron said...


Your 9:40 post should be emphasized more. I don't think many people here have given this much thought. Charges of adultery and molestation aren't just damaging. Falsely throwing out these types of accusations can have devastating effects on the lives of those falsely accused. Even in legitimate cases where such accusations have real merit, a Pastor should tread carefully. These aren't issues that should be treated casually.

Driscoll seeing pornographic visions is bad. Seriously bad. But hearing him give such flippantly destructive advice is tragic beyond my ability to articulate.

Jeremy said...

Tyler, yes, we should be authentic, but the thing that is getting overlooked in the midst of this hysteria is that genuine gifts of the Spirit are in operation all over the place, not just in high-profile ministries.

It seems to me to be very easy to cry "fraud", and "Where is the documentary evidence?", but that kind of mindset can easily fall pray to sheer obstructivism - by which I mean that people won't believe in these signs and wonders because they don't want to believe, no matter how strong the evidence.

Mark Driscoll is not bound to justify himself to everyone - not nearly as much as a Christian of integrity is bound to check out these things for himself by visiting any local church where the gifts of the Spirit are in operation and to take time, observe, and ask people for their stories.

In the churches I have moved in for the last twenty years, we see healings and accurate use of spiritual gifts all the time, so to pick on one minister and claim that he is a fraud is ludicrous in terms of the wider issue, which is that the Holy Spirit is still doing today all the things we read of in Acts and the Gospels.

Tyler Wallick said...

Unknown - did you have your own vision> You KNOW Driscoll is a Christian? Are you God? Did He tell you that? You HAVE NO IDEA if he is or isn't (nor does anyone else). There is more than enough just cause for anyone to question his faith by his ridiculous behavior.

If I posted on here that I KNOW Driscoll is lost and a "tool for the devil", you would come unhinged and accuse me of the very thing you are doing.

Aaron said...


Every sickness is healed by the power of God. There is no other power by which illness is cured.

Stick around. You'll see that we often pray for others here and rejoice when they are healed.

Jeremy said...

Paul E, thank you for your insightful comments. I wanted to write something like that as well, but didn't have the benefit of a Hebrew-English commentary.

Chris said...

"he is only channeling the spirit of the age"

Yep, that's because all he really knows is the spirit of this age as one who is a complete product of the spirit of this age. Everything about him reflects such a spirit. He boasts in such a spirit about all the things that are so clearly the byrpoducts of such a spirit. He defends himself in such a spirit. And this spirit of the age is obviously where all of his gimmicky, foul-mouthed, accursed antics and so-called forms of "ministry" come from.

Robert said...


There is a huge difference between laying out details of using drugs and a sexual encounter...especially if you are a man. Apples and oranges.

Let me echo Aaron's thoughts on healing and rejoicing. I've many times praised God for healing...in fact I've praised Him for helping get my family through church without major distractions for my children (which I pray for almost every week as we go to church).

I also think that before we go off and try to compare what MD is doing to the work of prophets in the Bible, we'd better be clear about one thing. Prophets who weren't always right in the Bible are called false prophets. So maybe we can call him a false prophet?

Chris said...



Jeremy said...

Phil Johnson, you go to considerable lengths in your 10:18 post to state that the Holy Spirit would be a pornographer if he truly revealed the details Mark D was talking about.

In my 08:21 post I referred to the Song of Solomon and Ezekiel 23:18-20, both of which go into considerable detail about sexual activity and/or naked bodies.

Do you not accept that God goes into this detail, and that your accusation of "pornography" is therefore a poor ground upon which to judge Mark Driscoll? In the light of a couple of bible verses taken, dare I say, as proof texts, your case stands up, but when we consider the whole counsel of Scripture, there is no case to answer.

Jeremy said...

Sir Aaron, so you wouldn't have a problem with somebody being told by God, "That woman has cancer,", and going to them to lay on hands and imparting a spiritual gift of healing?

Robert said...


Can you tell me what the context of those verses in Ezekiel are? I mean, the text explains it for us early in the chapter, but I want to hear you actually say it.

Also, there are no pictures here, Jeremy, and there is no description of a sexual act. Song of Solomon also does not provide such details unless we really start adding a lot to the text.

wordsmith said...

Jeremy: a Christian of integrity is bound to check out these things for himself by visiting any local church where the gifts of the Spirit are in operation and to take time, observe, and ask people for their stories.

BT,DT,GTTS. Believe it or not, some of us have wallowed in churches "where the gifts of the Spirit are in operation" for a lot longer than you might imagine (years, as a matter of fact), but ultimately we found that the entire charismatic edifice is a house of cards built upon a foundation of sand.

For every anecdote of someone in a charismatic church being healed, saved, or whatever, there are at least a dozen stories of people suffering from spiritual confusion (you know - that stuff that God is not the author of) and worse as a direct result of their involvement in things charismatic. Right off the top of my head I can think of several friends who were involved in "spirit-filled" churches twenty-some years ago at college, but now are not walking with the Lord - they are involved with eastern mysticism, new age beliefs, homosexuality, and/or emergent stuff.

Can a good tree bear bad fruit?

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Anonymous said...

Now I thought Todd Bentley was weird having visions of angel called Emma. And before the turn of the decade Mark is having visions of a strange kind. Why does God choose Mark of all people to show such ultra x-rated imagery?

Unknown said...


You are in effect claiming that Driscoll is not a Christian. That is a pretty serious claim, but I am not going to engage in any "unhinging" or ad-hominim attacks or anything of that nature. You should not read emotion into my comments and I wont read any into yours (see no all caps words or frowny face emots! :) ).

As I stated in my last response, if Driscoll was as crass as people here seem to be under the (false) assumption that he is, then there may be a problem. But again, if you attended Mars Hill week after week after week, you would see that there is little to zero crass speech going on there anymore.

In fact, I did notice that this video was not given a year attached to it (maybe it was from a while ago and Driscoll has grown since thing hmm teampyro??).

So to the real issue, how do I know Driscoll is a Christian? He proclaims repentance and the forgiveness of sins. He proclaims Christ crucified for sins. He proclaims Christ resurrected from death as savior and lord who will return to judge the living and the dead.

He does this every Sunday.

Until that changes, until he abandons the word of God, until he openly denys Christ, then he is saved and will be in heaven with our Lord whether or not you like it... :).

If you disagree with me, then show me the criteria in the Bible that disqualifies Driscoll as a Christian, because right now, what he says the majority of the time (Gospel), and the fruit he bears as a result, and the actual reality of what Mars Hill is as a church, do not condemn Driscoll in the way everyone here so wants to.

Have a nice day, and God bless!

Jeremy said...

Robert, the debate was whether it is ever right for God or his people to talk about or describe sexual acts in the context of prophecy, whch is what Ezekiel 23 is.

I think the rest of what you say is splitting hairs: there is no doubt about what is going on when the Lover says:

"SS 7:7 Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
SS 7:8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.”"

Everyone seems to imagine that MD was seeing some kind of close-up, full-penetration XXX porno movie. I'm sure the reality of his vision was a little more sparing on the detail.

I think there's a will to crucify the alleged offender here whereby some of the charges are being over-egged.

Matt F said...

Dear Tom,

Sorry I have been away from my keyboard. Thank you for your reply.

Nathan did have detailed knowledge and I think it bears asking how to do we think that God made things known to the prophets. One pattern we see in scripture is that of some kind of images or vision. For example in each of these cases the Lord asks the prophet, "what do you see" and then speaks about the image/vision: Jeremiah 1:11, 13; Jeremiah 23:3; Amos 7:8; Amos 8:2; Zechariah 4:2 and Zechariah 5:2. I am wondering if this is the way that God revealed it. Perhaps we do not need to know and since the text does not indicate perhaps this is idle speculation on my part.

As to your point about Nathan preaching publically for the edification of Jerusalem - to my mind it being recorded in Scripture is pretty public. Whenever the Scriptures are read, what he did is narrated with the detail that Nathan speaks. I do totally agree that it does not linger, nor glorify, nor go into details.

As to confessions from those that Driscoll has confronted I would say that I am not wanting to play Driscoll's apologist, nor to I know his ministry well. I was raising the issue of whether by ruling his conduct out Phil would also have ruled out Nathan's. That was not a moot point to me when I raised the question.

As to your imagined sceanario I wonder if it worth distinguish between the word given in private that is the retold (like Nathan) and a word brought publically to begin with?

Even for charismatics I think there would be big questions about the pastoral wisdom of handling things as Driscoll did. That's what I find so extraordinary about the way that Nathan told the story and then brought the word - that's the Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation.

Thank you for interacting with my question.

Jeremy said...

Wordsmith, I empathise with your concerns, but if we let the bad conduct of others rob us of the blessings Christ promised us, that isn't wisdom.

Jesus and Paul said we should be working miracles, healings and prophecies, but what much of the evangelical church is doing is judging the gifts not on the basis of the perfect God who gives them, but by imperfect humans who make mistakes or fall into error ,and thereby we end up powerless, neutralised by the devil.

"Do not call impure what God has made clean" (Acts 10), but we do exactly that when we reject God's gifts on the basis of the poor testimony of the few. Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater,we should seek to do these things right.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Jeremy said:

"Sir Aaron, so you wouldn't have a problem with somebody being told by God, "That woman has cancer,", and going to them to lay on hands and imparting a spiritual gift of healing?"

The ChipMunks have good advice for what the Witch Dr. had to say, and they even speak in tongues, and if one is not used to their idiomatic parlance, at least we can follow the bouncing ball and clap our hands to the diddy little tune.

My friend the Witch Dr. told me what to say...and he said, "oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla wall bing bang oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla wall bing bang.

Sorry, this is just beyond belief. I am just showing how absurd this really is.

Eric said...

"Upon occasion when I get up to preach I'll see—just like a screen in front of me—I'll see somebody get raped or abused..."

Wow. When he gets up to preach! Yes, I'm sure God in His perfect timing would definitely wait until Mark is ready to deliver a sermon from His most perfect Word to a congregation of sheep needing to be fed, led, instructed, and saved and at that moment would lay a vision of a rape in graphic detail (just like a screen in front of me) on his mind. Yep, sounds like God's handiwork to me.

Jeremy, Unknown, etc:

Any takers amongst you on some of the difficult questions posed here, like why are these "prophets" not to be judged as Biblical era prophets were, or how are the good visions separated from bad ones, or what happens when Mark is wrong and confronts someone?

Robert said...


You are so far out of context with your reference to Acts 10 that it is ridiculous.

And going back to Ezekiel, I don't see a sexual act there. Sorry, it just isn't there. It says she lusted after the paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and whose issue is like the issue of horses. And when taken in the right context, you can see that God is saying that Jerusalem (really, the southern kingdom of Judah) was turning to other countries instead of to God. They didn't want God's holiness, they wanted the worldly power and things that the earthly kingdoms around them had.

Anonymous said...

Observation: MD's behavior is indefensible on so many levels, and yet several of you have no qualms defending it.

Chris said...


Well, that is simply because false prophets beget false followers of their wicked ways! Of course they defend him.

Jeremy said...

Robert, it's not out of context. I am making the point that God gives good gifts, and we call them impure when we shouldn't. The principle has broad application. You will appreciate that I ws not trying to use the Acts 10 reference as a proof text about Spiritual gifts, but rather to point out our behaviour.

RE Ezekiel, yes, and God uses a detailed illustration about sexual relations to make the point about Israel's unfaithfulness. So if it's all right for God to do it back then, then there is surely no problem with Him talking about sexual sin in detail in prophetic gifts.

Robert Warren said...

Robert - Can you imagine if he confronted the wife about the tall blonde guy and it had never happened?

He might just get the dope-slapping of his life.

Wayner - It is not something he does in every sermon however.

Oh, well, in that case...

Dave - For the record, these comments weren't made recently.

Oh, well, in that case...

Jeremy - What if I've seen pictures of you seeing the pictures wrong?

Jeremy said...

Eric, is this an argument for stoning people who get a prophecy wrong?

Tyler Wallick said...

Unknown - I have not stated this. I noted that IF (sorry, CAPS necessary there) I were to do so, you would challenge me saying I know for sure (which I do not)

Fred Butler said...

The passage in question is problematic in the Hebrew. The concept of "genitalia" is an interpretative one, and I would add, on that is only recent. Pretty much every standard English Bible takes the language there to mean that Israel was lusting after her lovers.

But laying that aside, how on earth is something the prophet Ezekiel wrote even related to the bizarre, pornographic visions Driscoll is claiming to receive from God?

Jeremy said...

Robet Warren, the whole point if one has a prophetic insight is that one takes it to the person concerned and shares it. If it turns out to be inaccurate, and they deal with it in wisdom and love, no harm done.

If somebody said to me, "Jeremy, I saw a vision of you in a sinful sexual relationship," I would say, "You're mistaken," thank him for being faithful to what he thought God was saying, and that would be the end of it.

See, when we do these things with wisdom and grace, nobody need suffer.

Jeremy said...

Fred B, the point being that Phil Johnson started out by saying that God could never give "pornographically detailed" visions to a prophet, and I was showing him scripture that gives the lie to his assumption (see e.g. 08:21).

For which he has not yet thanked me, but will do when he gets a moment. :o)

tim yakich said...

This video is from 2008. Has Mr. Driscoll 'changed' since then? Also, I saw a video from Ligonier Ministries website that had r.c. sproul and mark driscoll being buddy-buddy on stage at a q&a event...should i be concerned about r.c.'s teachings, too?

Eric said...


No. I'm not making an argument for anything, per se. I simply asked if you were willing to tackle any of a number of tough questions that had been raised.

To flesh out the prophet question a bit, were prophets who prophesied lies in the Bible considered true prophets?

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, honey...that's the whole point. "Prophetic insights" are never inaccurate, for prophecies come from God Himself. An inaccurate prophecy is the fruit of a false prophet.

Jeremy said...

Eric, no, those people were not considered true prophets.

However, if you will permit me to somewhat pre-empt where this discussion may be heading, I was discussing with a lady who appears to share common cessationist ground with many here, and she was saying that any modern-day prophet who made even one incorrect prophecy would be a false prophet and should be stoned.

I know of no church today that stones anybody for anything (we don't put homosexuals to death, etc.), so I considered this somewhat unusual.

However, the point is (or ought to be) that a real false prophet is one who deliberately prophesies falsehood, not one who makes an honest mistake (even if God seemed to adopt a policy of zero tolerance on a few occasions in the OT). Otherwise where is the grace? Or would we also accuse a pastor who accidentally preached something the word of God doesn't say of "adding to the words of this book" and strike him down too?

Eric said...

"If it turns out to be inaccurate, and they deal with it in wisdom and love, no harm done."

Jeremy, excuse me for saying so, but that is about as naive a statement as you could make. So, pastor Mark is counseling a married couple, and he lets loose with his vision of the wife in a graphic sexual encounter with another man and she say "no way" and they all go home happy, simple as that? And meanwhile the husband, who is from pastor Mark's church has previously heard Mark say that these visions are from God?

Your solution/answer to false accusations is far from realistic or satisfactory. I hope you are not in a postion of authority.

Robert said...

Hey, I have heard that ouija boards are sometimes accurate! I wonder how that could happen?

Jeremy said...

Jules, sweetheart (may I call you that, since we are onto terms of endearment?), I realise we love to judge, but one honest mistake does not preclude the possibility of a man or woman having a genuine prophetic gift. See my previous post.

Eric said...


This quote: "even if God seemed to adopt a policy of zero tolerance on a few occasions in the OT" tells me about all I need to know about how seriously you take the Bible. Here's an idea: try taking God as seriously as you take Mark Driscoll, or even more seriously.

donsands said...

"Hey Jeremy", can ask you what you thought of, and think of Kathryn Kulhman?

Was she legit?


She was a phoney, from the souls of her feet to the crown of her head, but she could get people to follow her.

Robert said...


Regardless of the stoning issue, God defines these people as false prophets. You can draw any conclusions from that that you want to, but I am not following a false prophet and would actually warn others not to.

Jeremy said...

Eric, point taken, prophecy used unwisely can cause damage, but where is the happy middle ground? Both prophets and their hearers are responsible for what they say and how they receive,and we do so with wisdom, tact, and the understanding that we are all fallible

By the arguments on this board, nobody should ever prophesy in case mistakes are made (or somebody gets taken outside for a stoning!), but that's not what Paul says when he says "Be eager to prophesy..." (1 Cor 14:39)

Anonymous said...


Your response reveals that you have a misunderstanding regarding the nature of biblical prophecy. Again, there are only two kinds of prophets; true and false. True prophecy comes from God and God does not make mistakes of any kind.

Anonymous said...

This clip is a good illustration of the deluding power of an anecdote.

FX Turk said...

I wish I had the day off to read this comment thread. It cannot help itself but to be awesome.

Has anyone yet said, "Because Mark Dever and Al Mohler have not denounced this tomfoolery on MD's part, I will not attend the next T4G"?

How about this: "You guys are just looking for reasons to call Driscoll out. You always call him out." (you know: after ignoring him for 2 years)

Chris said...


Please say you are not in any type of formal ministry capacity. Please, please say you have a job doing something else!! Please say you have no influence over peoples' souls. If you are, by all you've said here in defense of MD's rebellious, FALSE PROPHET behaviors, then I pray for such souls in your care. You clearly have little regard or reverence for the holiness of God, and your view of Scripture is so low that you arrogantly twist it and defile it with your examples and rationale. It is clear here that you clearly cannot see the big picture here, or even a picture beyond your emergentesque rebellion to God's authority. You clearly miss the boat with regard to the entire manner by which MD approaches his so-called "gift" here, and the rank lewdness it entails...just as all of the defenders of MDs foul mouth in the pulpit missed the boat entirely of THAT wreckless behavior and what volumes it spoke about MD's low view of God's holiness. Mickey Mouse...yep, that says it all with regard to MDs approach to ministry, but Mickey is (merely) silly and MD's antics, as a so-called minister of the gospel, are, sadly, anything but silly.

Jeremy said...

Robert, if you got something wrong with your relationship with your kids one day, would that make you a bad father?

Or would you receive the grace of God, seek forgeiveness and try to become an even better father?

Jesus is the one who had every right to condemn us for our wrongdoing, yet when he met a lady who was about to be stoned for her adultery, he said, "Neither do I condemn you." We can condemn people as false prophets, adulteresses, hopeless failures of all kinds, or we can restore them in the spirit of grace and let them walk forward in God.

I venture to suggest that this is why many churches (charismatic ones included, at times) do not see real effectiveness in reaching the world (gays, drunks, addicts, adulterers, etc.): because we are quick to condemn - to write somebody off as a hopeless sinner and slow to exercise grace, when Jesus did the exact oppsite.

Eric said...

"...we are all fallible"

Jeremy, that's the point. We are fallible, but prophecy from God is not.

So, a prophet who claims to speak for God must be held to a standard of perfection in prophecy - that's Biblical. God is not the author of lies. But there is another Biblcal figure who is called the father of lies.

Also, my previous point was not about "prophecy used unwisely" it was about false prophecy...there is a decided difference.

FX Turk said...

FWIW, this clip and the one I wrote the open letter about make one thing clear: anyone who says that Driscoll is some kind of middle-of-the-road careful charismatic is just kidding himself.

There is no question that someone who (says he) is getting this kind of feedback directly from God is either about to rain fire down on the nation he lives in, or is about to find himself as the cause of a massive train wreck which harms those around him, especially his network of church planters. We'll see which it is.

Anonymous said...

Driscokk has been exposed endlessly. I have no quibble with that. He needs to be exposed and people need to be warned BUT doesn't there reach a point where the best thing that can be done is to bury him in anonymity?

If everyone would stop giving him PR perhaps he would shut up and go away?

Deb_B said...

Jeremy wrote, in part:
"Both prophets and their hearers are responsible for what they say and how they receive,and we do so with wisdom, tact, and the understanding that we are all fallible...."


To prophesy - by whatever means - is to claim to speak directly in the stead of Jehovah God. To do so falsely ought to absolutely terrify the one who claims to do so ... and it would if only he/she had a heartbeat of the Godly holy fear Isaiah exhibited in the sixth chapter of the book he penned under plenary inspiration.

Robert said...


For the first question, RC Sproul's name actually came up.

As for the second, yes, that has come up as well...specifically towards Phil a few times and to all of you once or twice.

You have missed the attempts to compare what he is supposed to have seen (sexual affir, rape, etc.) to language from Ezekiel 23 and Song of Solomon, too.

theinscrutableone said...

False prophecies, or false content that happens to get mixed in with a true prophecy, aren't just mistakes: they are sin. We've got to come to grips with the fact that speaking in the name of the Lord when the Lord has not in fact spoken is a grevious sin. Make no mistake: God takes the use of His Name very seriously. I would be in sin if I rose in a church service to prophesy in the name of God and added even a word from my own imagination or else omitted a word of what God had given me to speak.

The apparent fact that some of today's spiritual gifts seem to produce good fruit isn't enough to prove that they are inspired by God. In my charismatic days I recall several instances when an actual healing or accurate word of knowledge occurred. The fact that these "true" experiences tended to steer me towards seeking after more such experiences and away from searching the Scriptures ought to be sufficient proof that, at least in my case, these gifts were not given by the God in whose name they were exercised. Please don't mistake apparent accuracy and near-term good-looking fruit for proof of divine inspiration. It took me over ten years to find out, but in the end even the most "accurate" of my prophecies, dreams, visions, etc., proved to be false and harmful. I very nearly gave up on Christ when I came to see the truth behind my "true" charismatic experiences. What seemed to encourage my faith in the short run very nearly destroyed it in the long run.

It is a serious problem when a preacher fails to accurately expound the Scriptures, but it is far worse when a supposed prophet fails to speak accurately the words of God. Such a failure is not a mere "mistake": it is at very least the sin of taking the name of the Lord in vain. Even if I am "right" 95% of the time (as no prophets of today are), I've still spoken falsely in the name of the Lord 5% of the time and will not be held guiltless.

Think about it: has God really blessed the church by giving it spiritual gifts that--by the admission of many proponents--more often than not take His name in vain? That would be as bad as being left with a Bible that's only 95% accurate. Are we to believe that the NT church--the fulfillment of the OT Law and Prophets--has been blessed with a means of revelation that's proven to be infinitely less reliable than the writings of the OT prophets and the NT apostles: the Scriptures? Is it a blessing to be left with spiritual gifts that more often than not draw the church off-track? If this kind of spiritual gifts is better than relying entirely upon the completed Scriptures, how???


Anonymous said...


I wish there was an edit function so I wouldn't look so stupid when I post typos.

Jeremy said...

Just Jules (sweetheart), that is the point: God does not make mistakes, but we humans do. If I say I thought I heard God when I didn't, and my heart is good that's an honest mistake. It doesn't make me a false prophet; it just makes me human.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. It makes you a false prophet.

DJP said...

I pause once again to thank our Charismatic-enabler commenters for proving Phil right.

Grudem and all the other enablers = hey, you can't criticize Driscoll for this.

They have erected a massive support structure for endless adolescence.

Driscoll says (as Aaron affirmed) genuinely dangerous things, Phil and others of us call him on it, and the enablers run to provide cover.

From Bentley to Hinn to Driscoll et al., it's just one big family.

Jeremy said...

Just Jules, well, I can assure you that if you ever make any kind of mistake or commit any kind of sin around me I will extend to you all the grace and forgiveness I possibly can.


Tom Chantry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Exactly, Jules.

As for me, and I'd suggest to you and others here as well, I'm not feeding the trolls (i.e. Jeremy) on this meta any longer. He is so obviously controlled by the spirit of this age like the one he defends--both products and mouthpices of postmodern culture and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Chris. Thanks for the tip.

Solameanie said...

Not only on their assumption that God no longer works in peoples lives

Unknown, who here assumes that God no longer works in people's lives? That's a pretty breathtaking statement.

Tom Chantry said...

Has anyone yet said, "Because Mark Dever and Al Mohler have not denounced this tomfoolery on MD's part, I will not attend the next T4G"?

How about this: "You guys are just looking for reasons to call Driscoll out. You always call him out." (you know: after ignoring him for 2 years)

Frank, not that I've seen. You'll be glad to know that they have said, "you guys just think that whoever disagrees with you on anything isn't a Christian." They've said that several times. I think that sort of makes up for the others being missed.

Jeremy said...

Folks, it's been charming, but I have to log off now and go get some dinner (I'm on UK time). Doubtless I'll soon be doing healings, baptising people in the Hoyl Spirit, sharing prophetic words from God, etc., which will upset some people, but I'm doing it out of a desire to see what happened in the gospels (Luke 9,10) and Acts happen today. And so far people have been healed, set free, encouraged, releaed in their callings and led to salvation as I have explored thsese gifts of God over the last 20 years. It's out there for you if you want to receive it.

Blessings, all!

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...


Take your same defense (God is perfect, we are flawed, and sometimes we mess up on our prophesies) and apply it to the prophets who wrote about our Lord and how He would come and suffer and be raised again. How would that have turned out?

Eric said...


Please don't confuse the true exercise of discernment (as Phil has exhibited, not Mark D.) as writing "someone off as a hopeless sinner" or being "slow to exercise grace". No one here is writing off anyone as a hopeless sinner.

Jesus did not condemn the adultress to death because there were not two witnesses to attest. He did tell her to go and sin no more.

Tom Chantry said...

Mark F,

My point - and I do not think it has yet been addressed in this thread - is that there is not one word of II Samuel 12, or any other passage, which suggests that God gave any prophet at any time a vision of sexual intercourse between two specific persons. To imagine it happening is just that - to imagine it into the text. There is not one word of II Samuel 12, or any other passage, that suggests that any prophet ever described in detail such a vision for the edification of others - as Driscoll does in this video. Attempts to tie what he said here to any Scriptural pattern have failed. My conclusion is that whatever is going on with him is most assuredly not a biblical gift. One wouldn't think that I would have to be a cessasionist to realize that, but - and this is really the point of this article - it's hard to find a continuationist who does realize it.

As for the rest of my scenario, let me be absolutely clear. It is easy to make stuff up. Nathan confronted a public figure with his sin, and that public figure not only admitted that he was correct, but went on to write a Psalm about it. That rather validates Nathan's prophetic gift, no? What makes Driscoll exactly like every other charlatan which the charismatic movement perpetually churns out is that his "wow" stories are all totally unverifiable. "I was meeting with a husband-and-wife once..." Great. I can say that too. It proves nothing.

So if a man claims to have visions from God, but those vision cannot possibly be subjected to the tests laid out in Deuteronomy 18, and, further, they differ in character from all the visions and prophecy of Scripture but are in fact contrary to the moral principles enshrined in the word, does that make him a prophet? No. It makes him a Charismatic.

Robert said...


Just to add to what you are saying is the difference...MD said "I see everything." I say that because somewhere earlier in the thread somebody suggested that MD might not have seen the filthy details, but that isn't what he is claiming. And that isn't what Nathan claimed he saw (and for good reason).

Fred Butler said...

Jeremy writes,
Fred B, the point being that Phil Johnson started out by saying that God could never give "pornographically detailed" visions to a prophet, and I was showing him scripture that gives the lie to his assumption (see e.g. 08:21).

You have not shown us anything of the sort. Even if Ezekiel's words speak to genitals rather than lovers, its not anywhere near the kind of graphic detail Driscoll claims God gave him about people's personal lives.

You're way out on a limb with this, and everyone here is saying you are, and sadly, you don't seem to care.

DJP said...

Jeremy: I'm doing it out of a desire to see what happened in the gospels (Luke 9,10) and Acts happen today

Absolute nonsense.

And the very fact that you have to TELL us about it proves that fact incontrovertibly.

Elaine Bittencourt said...

Unequal weights - in order to defend Driscoll's "gift" people will go to the Old Testament and cite, for example, Nathan.

Why is it that we cannot stick to the OT when it comes to false prophets then? Driscoll is, in all biblical accounts, a false prophet, by his own words he admits not being right all the time.

So all of you Driscoll defenders, why do you think his gifts can be explained by the use of the OT, but on the same hand we cannot judge him as a false prophet by the same OT standards? huh?

DJP said...

Rachael Starke

Your 10:07 AM, August 15, 2011, obviously embarrassing to tell (A) was golden, and (B) has been utterly ignored.

So I'll try to remedy that.

I do not doubt that your story could be multiplied by the tens, or hundreds of thousands. But of course enablers don't tell those stories in "worship" or at conferences on TV. They don't tell the stories that end up:

HOST: And then what happened?

STORYTELLER: Nothing. I was completely wrong. It was a delusion. It was horribly embarrassing, it caused pain and damage, it made Christ look bad, and I purposed never to do such a thing again.

It's like pyramid schemes, isn't it? Maybe 0.000001% make some money; the rest waste their time and bucks and are embarrassed (I have a story like that, from early in our marriage). But they don't get featured, of course. Just the few.

And they may not be being entirely truthful.

DJP said...

Elaine, because thanks to Wayne Grudem et. al they've made up this notion that the glorious age of Messiah is marked by a pathetic downgrade of the gift of "prophecy." Neat, huh? It's now more a "gift of pop-offecy."

Aaron said...

@DJP and @Rachael:

Absolutely agree. How'd you like to be a man wrongly accused of child molestation? Or a victim who thinks they were molested as a one year old and weren't?

The consequences to being wrong in this arena isn't like picking the wrong lotto numbers.

Aaron said...

And Grudem's downgrade of the gift of healing is equally pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"They've made up this notion that the glorious age of Messiah is marked by a pathetic downgrade of the gift of "prophecy." - DJP

And, by this they impune the very character of God Himself.

DJP said...

JJ: What I observe is: anything to protect The Movement.

Aaron: Oh yeah, I picture that conversation.

DRISCOLL SHEEP: Grandpa, did you sexually molest me when I was little?

GRANDPA: What?!! No!

DS: Okay, nevermind.

JR said...

David Blaine should totally go into ministry.

DJP said...


At least Blaine always says "I want to show you something," not "I want to make an argument woven of endless stories about how you ought to go out looking for something I can't personally provide."

Anonymous said...

So you go to your grandfather the molester and confront him because Pastor Mark had a vision? And then grandpa says, "Wow, yes... in fact I did molest you, but you were so young I didn't think you'd remember!"

I mean C'MON! ... really?! Grandpa's gonna admit that to you so readily?

The way he communicates this 'gift' is just pathetic. And did you catch his opening statement that while this is a supposed spiritual gift (for the profit of all 1Cor12) he doesn't wanna say anything cause then he'll have all sorts of people coming up to him wanting what is tantamount to 'readings'. Oh, please. Yeah, that's what God intended by giving the Body gifts of the Spirit.

This is beyond ridiculous.

Excellent post Phil.

Robert said...

I'm just wondering what are those counseling sessions like? I mean, do they sit and wait around for the first thought/vision that pops into their minds before determining the root of the problem?

And how is the husband going to feel about the counselor seeing his wife naked? I don't see any way that this could be helpful at all. And then throw in the possibility of it being wrong and the husband might either think his wife cheated when she didn't or that the counselor is having sexual thoughts about his wife. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

wordsmith said...

Frank: anyone who says that Driscoll is some kind of middle-of-the-road careful charismatic is just kidding himself.

What they fail to realize is that this road is crowned - meaning that anyone claiming to be "middle of the road" sooner or later will wind up completely on one side or the other. Ain't no way to stay "middle of the road."

Elaine Bittencourt said...

Jeremy says at 12:32pm:

"Just Jules, well, I can assure you that if you ever make any kind of mistake or commit any kind of sin around me I will extend to you all the grace and forgiveness I possibly can."

Your reasoning is faulty. Although God did tell us to forgive others, He did not say that it would be ok to say He said something when He didn't.

Tom Chantry said...

Robert, the whole point is, the counselor is having sexual thoughts about the poor guy's wife - only there's nothing he can say about it because they are inspired sexual thoughts. Tell someone in any other context that you've had a "vision" of his wife in bed having sex - and he'd rightly punch you in the nose. But when you're a "prophet" - you can think and say whatever you want, with the Holy Spirit as your cover.

Robert said...

Elaine, you're right and there is a name for that...blasphemy. Especially when you are crediting the Holy Spirit for something that did not come from Him.

Robert said...

You're right, Tom, which leads to one of the main concerns that people have about Driscoll...his obsession with porn and other vices. I know porn is a huge problem in America today, but talking about it as much and in the fashion he does is not really productive to me.

The Radical Watchman said...

Who really gets the glory when one spends so much time expositing their experience and subjective anecdotes instead of the word of God? The answer to that is patently obvious.

DJP said...

You know, where all of you guys are going wrong is you're doing that thinking-rationally and following-matters-to-their-logical-conclusions thingie.

That's unspiritual.

DJP said...

I wonder if the "That's racist!" kid could be made to say "That's unspiritual!" ?

Ooh, he could say "That's carnal!"

donsands said...

I love to watch David Blaine.

The phony healing people are charismatic alright. I suppose "Elmer Gantry II" maybe: to help people wake up.


BTW, Burt Lancaster was superb as a fake.

Elaine Bittencourt said...

"thanks to Wayne Grudem et. al they've made up this notion that the glorious age of Messiah is marked by a pathetic downgrade of the gift of "prophecy." Neat, huh? It's now more a "gift of pop-offecy."

"pathetic downgrade", that's about right.
I've been thinking much about the lack of discernment (the real kind)in reformed circles. It is sad, but expected.

DJP said...

Yep, Elaine, that's a nevcer-ending source of amazement to me.

In the age of shadows and types, prophets were 100% inerrant.

But now in the glorious age of fulfillment... they hit about 50-50 or worse.


Solano Portela said...

Dear Phil:
It is possible that one of the 191 comments already brought this point - but it is fair to say that Driscoll still uses this kind of reasoning, or language? After all the video is from 2008, and I hear that after he was rebuked by many, including you guys, about the usage of graphic language, in sexual matters, he revised his messages and practices.
Wishing the Lord's blessings in your ministry,

Solano Portela

Phil Johnson said...

Jeremy: "I referred to the Song of Solomon and Ezekiel 23:18-20, both of which go into considerable detail about sexual activity and/or naked bodies."

"Considerable detail"? The Ezekiel passage uses an expression designed to magnify disgust at the spiritual adulteries of Israel. Song of Solomon uses beautiful poetic euphemism to describe the romance of two people married to one another. (See John MacArthur's articles on "The Rape of Solomon's Song" for an answer to the argument I think you are groping for here.)

Neither text deliberately provokes prurient curiosity or aims at painting the sort of provocative mental image Driscoll was trying to conjure up.

If you want a text that has true relevance to Driscoll's style of narrative, try 2 Peter 2:14.

DJP said...

Though not Phil, Solano, I'd point out that we've had a number of attempted defenses; and none of them has been "Merciful heavens, don't you chowderheads know that Driscoll repented and disowned that line of gibberish? Here are the links to the posts and videos:..."

Plus, Driscoll has a record of zero positive response to pas specific appeals.

Plus, Driscoll just doubled-down in pro-"continuationist" nonsense.

Jerry Wragg said...

By the way, for anyone willing (or daring enough) to study the exegetical flaws of Grudem's "lesser-authoritative prophecy" view, see the link here: http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj2h.pdf

Farnell's excellent critique shows that Grudem's entire view rests largely on a misapplication of Sharp's rule when interpreting Eph 2:20, among other grammatical and contextual assumptions about the operation of the NT gifts.

Dee said...

Thank you for this revealing You Tube of Driscoll. i may have a slightly different opinion than you on cessationism but I can assure you that no one, charismatic or not, should believe that this sort of presentation is in any way normal. I believe that Driscoll has a serious problem and should not be saying this stuff in the pulpit or at conferences.

Anyone who thinks this is a normal prophetic sort of word, needs to read the prophecies of the Bible. The prophets didn't spend time describing the positions the participants were in when they committed sin.

Once again, this is nonsense for charismatics and nonsense for cessationists. This is one that both sides should agree upon. Driscoll appears to have a deep rotted problem and I am shocked that the Christian community does not rise up against this.

Phil Johnson said...

Solano Portela: "is fair to say that Driscoll still uses this kind of reasoning, or language?"

The sermon from which the above excerpt is taken is still featured at the Mars Hill Website. (See link under the video.)

It's been two and a half years since I preached on Titus 2:7-8 at the Shepherds' Conference and specifically mentioned Driscoll's reputation for ribaldry. A couple of months after that John MacArthur wrote a series of blogposts strongly objecting to Driscoll's mishandling of Song of Solomon.

My impression is that since then, Driscoll has indeed seemed to tone down his language and (for the most part) reign in the ├╝ber-graphic sex talk.

Is that simply wise PR on his part, or genuine repentance? I've never seen an actual statement of repentance from him regarding the things I wrote a long letter to him about.

In fact, other than the speedy removal of those Scotland sex-talks (which he covered with a bald-faced lie), I'm not aware that he has made any changes to or retractions from the many inappropriate things he has published in his books or distributed via his web page.

Although I have pretty much laid off criticizing Driscoll for more than two years, I still intend to wait until he actually expresses repentance for these things before I congratulate him for repenting.

Andrew Lindsey said...

Take 1:

Re, DJP: "What I observe is: anything to protect The Movement."

-But is this necessarily the case?

PJ's post seems to say that the continuationist position necessarily leads to a failure to criticize MD et al. But why couldn't someone like a Grudem or a Piper grasp PJ's point that the Holy Spirit would not show such images (sep. to someone like MD) and grasp a biblical definition of the gift of discernment (such as articulated in Challies' book), and call out MD on these bases alone?

Don't misunderstand: I'd like the entire "Reformed Charismatic" movement to embrace a more comprehensive understanding of the necessity and sufficiency of Scripture, but I'm hoping that PJ's post (and others) will prompt them to think more critically about teachers like MD even if they don't immediately embrace cessationism.

Jerry Wragg said...

Footnote: While doing doctoral work under Dr. Farnell, I asked him if Grudem ever responded to the Journal article critiquing his view of NT prophecy. He said to-date he had not. But he also mentioned that he saw Grudem at a subsequent conference and personally asked him why he hadn't responded to the article. Grudem simply replied that he just didn't feel lead.


JR said...


1:42 to 2:00 - very good

But I see your Elmer Gantry and raise you a Steve Martin:


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