The Bite of Jaws on Driscoll

Some of you might be aware of the newest Mark Driscoll video available on the internet. At times, I have really been saddened, even quite upset, at some of the statements of Mark Driscoll. No doubt, as leaders, we must watch what we say publicly, for we don’t know who is watching. I have experienced the grunt of this at times (though definitely not as much as a Mark Driscoll).

And, also, there are times I have disagreed with Driscoll’s take on particular perspectives, mainly what could be an overt focus on what it means to be masculine, which also comes at the expense of what is perceived as more feminine characteristics.

But, I want to share a post with you, one which takes the side of Driscoll in regards to certain gifts of the Spirit, or manifestations of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:7). I personally agree with the tenor of this post and the way it approaches Driscoll’s experience and sharing of his experience of specific gifts of the Spirit.

In this newly posted video, we see a short clip in the midst of a larger message in which Driscoll decided to share some specific instances of how he has been used in both the gifts of discerning of spirits and the word of knowledge (what he simply identifies as discernment in the video clip). With these instances, some of the words and revelations he shares that he has received from God involves deep sin, even sexual sin of people. But, noting the nature of his church (and his larger following in America and beyond), though the video really isn’t as bad as some would have you believe, some stronger details are shared in regards to a few of the situations.

Noting all of this, and being the strongly neo-Calvinist cessationists they are, the Pyromanics team took a hard hit on Driscoll recently at their blog. It was pretty harsh, pretty deep accusations in their post.

And, thus, my co-blogging colleague, Marv, over at To Be Continued (our thoughtful continuationist blog putting forth a biblical, theological and historical case for the continuance of all gifts of the Spirit today), decided to respond with a challenge, a strong challenge, to Team Pyro. So, I recommend engaging with Marv’s article that was recently posted this week at To Be Continued.

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8 thoughts on “The Bite of Jaws on Driscoll

  1. Scott,

    I’ll begin by declaring my prejudice: I personally find Driscoll faintly ridiculous at the best of times, and downright blasphemous at worst. He is a very poor representative of the Christian faith, and should never have been permitted to hold a position of pastoral responsibility (though to be fair, that’s probably true of most celebrity preachers).

    As you know, I am a strong cessationist. But I believe that even if I was a continuist, Driscoll’s teaching would leave me very uncomfortable. It does not ring true with my understanding of the Spirit gifts. The Pyro team might have gone a little overboard with their rhetoric (dude, they’re neo-Calvinists; it’s their job to be angry at everything!) yet it seems to me that their criticisms are valid.

    Thanks for the link to Marv’s blog, which I’m still reading. I would be very interested to see how other continuists have responded to Driscoll’s message.

  2. Dave -

    I, too, have not appreciated some of the things that Driscoll has said or how he says it. But, with regards to this point, I think Driscoll has said nothing overtly wrong (outside of maybe he could have held back on one or two details about the situations) and that this is seeing the gifts of the word of knowledge and discerning of spirits at work. This is reality. I think he shared such details because of the kind of church he had and the people involved. He is very blunt with them on all matters.

    As to how someone could be a cessationist, I find it hard to fathom from both a biblical and practical perspective. But, each one to his own. :)

  3. Scott,

    The big issue for me is that what he’s describing does not correspond to any description of any gift I can find in the NT, and certainly not the gifts of knowledge or discerning of spirits. If it truly is reality, it’s not coming from God.

  4. Since Mark’s message/conference is 3 years old and I have only been going to an Acts 29 church for about 3 years, I had never heard it until now. But, it makes me so happy! I grew up in the Charismatic church, but in the last 5 or 6 years have come to learn that a lot of what I was taught was not scriptural. Although I now tend to lean more towards the “Reformed” camp, I still feel like some in this camp miss the gifts of the Spirit stuff. I have felt frustrated for feeling like I had to choose one or the other when I felt so strongly that there is truth to both. I still pray in toungues in my personal prayer life and I believe that 1 Corinthians 14 supports that. I actually (in a blog post that got deleted somehow) called myself a Reformed Charismatic and I didn’t even know that term actually existed! I love it! I know that Driscoll can be a little “racy” at times or is sometimes called “The Cussing Pastor”, but I think he is solid and am proud to be a part of Acts 29. woohoo! Thanks for sharing this, Scott!

  5. Dave -

    This is very similar to what the “word/message of knowledge” is, which is different from simply “knowledge”. I wrote about it here. And probably not too far off from the “word/message of wisdom”, which I also posted about here. But these two gifts are sister-gifts, if you will.

    Jesus’ word of knowledge with the Samaritan woman was very similar, in that it was love/sexually related. Of course, in his Gospel, John doesn’t divest so many details in the account (and maybe that is one thing Driscoll could have been more careful about, but I think he is not too bothered noting the make-up of the people in his church). But it is still similarly related.

    I think my colleague, Marv, did an excellent job showing how Driscoll was not far off, no unbiblical in the use of this gift, but how Team Pyro was way off in their charges. I think this stuff really happens, I’ve seen it happen, and I think it is “biblical” in that we find similarly related cases but not the exact same cases (as the Bible doesn’t really describe the “how” details of all things).

  6. Scott,

    Jesus’ knowledge of the Samaritan woman’s personal life was completely and utterly different to Driscoll’s salacious “visions.” I wouldn’t even call it a “word of knowledge.” It was simply information he obtained through the power of the Holy Spirit. We never find any examples of any prophet claiming to have received a vision of someone’s sexual activities. That doesn’t match the holiness of God’s operations as I understand them.

    Does the “message of knowledge” (I Corinthians 12:8) actually refer to miraculous knowledge of other people’s private lives? I don’t find it described this way by Scripture. In fact, most commentators regard the “message of knowledge” as a gift empowering the recipient to discern spiritual truths rather than personal details. Typical definitions include “insight into doctrinal truth” (Walvoord & Zuck), “speech full of God’s wisdom” (Robertson), and “the ability to understand and apply God’s truth to a definite situation” (Wiersbe).

    Marv argues that Driscoll’s gift falls into the category of “discerning the spirits”, but instead of using Scripture to prove this he merely refers us back to Driscoll’s own assertions. I don’t find this convincing. In any case, what is Driscoll’s gift supposed to be? Word of knowledge, or discerning the spirits? It can’t be both; they’re entirely different.

    Marv plunges into murky territory when he claims that spoken prophecy is not always inerrant. This time he offers Scripture, but I can’t see how his proof texts substantiate the claim (I Thessalonians 5:20-21 & I Corinthians 14:29 don’t even come close).

    On the issue of cessationism we’ll have to agree to disagree. All I can say is that I have never heard or seen evidence of any church which consistently and irrefutably displays every single one of the apostolic gifts, including miraculous healing and literal, physical resurrection from the dead. If that ever changes, I’ll be sure to let you know.

    • “On the issue of cessationism we’ll have to agree to disagree. All I can say is that I have never heard or seen evidence of any church which consistently and irrefutably displays every single one of the apostolic gifts, including miraculous healing and literal, physical resurrection from the dead. If that ever changes, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

      You might want to visit Heidi Baker in Mozambique, Dave. Just a thought….

  7. Dave -

    Interesting you would remark this: It was simply information he obtained through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    But I know your view of the Holy Spirit would be quite different even from the typical evangelical cessationist.

    You said: We never find any examples of any prophet claiming to have received a vision of someone’s sexual activities. That doesn’t match the holiness of God’s operations as I understand them.

    God is holy, but God has, by His Spirit, decided to intimately work amongst humans who sin and sin very deeply. Dwelling in us, who sin. You’d think it would be unreasonable, problematic. But he still does it. So we can’t pull the, ‘God is holy,’ card as a reason why this is wrong. And I’d say the Bible has a few scenes in it that would make the average person blush. As I said, I think Driscoll could have used a little better wisdom in what details he shared (though I don’t think any of it was over the top for my taste). But, noting the make-up of the people in his church, it probably wasn’t problematic. It’s just that we also have to deal with the media and people who pull 5-minute clips from a longer teaching-message and post it on YouTube at our expense.

    You said: Does the “message of knowledge” (I Corinthians 12:8) actually refer to miraculous knowledge of other people’s private lives? I don’t find it described this way by Scripture.

    I think it can. Now, in Pentecostal-charismatic circles (and therefore, by default, into those circles outside those two groups) view either prophecy or the word of knowledge as only a secret unveiling of sin. It doesn’t have to be. I think it can be the Spirit’s impartation of understanding spiritual truths. But, I would argue it is both. Most people you quote, I would suppose, are probably cessationist. But if you look at the prophetic gift, in a larger context, I believe it allows for such – But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” (1 Cor 14:24-25). It is not only this, but it does involve this.

    You said: In any case, what is Driscoll’s gift supposed to be? Word of knowledge, or discerning the spirits? It can’t be both; they’re entirely different.

    Actually, they work in tandem together at times (as many gifts). Just like tongues and interpretation can work together, or faith (in the 1 Cor 12 sense, not salvation faith) and miracles work together. Two giftings/services/manifestations of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:4-7) can work together at varying times.

    You said: Marv plunges into murky territory when he claims that spoken prophecy is not always inerrant.

    I think Marv and I have a different view here on spoken prophecy and the nature of Scripture. But what I suppose Marv meant was that all true prophecy is true prophecy, but not all that comes from a person’s mouth might be correct. But we can be assured Scripture is true in it’s God-breathed, prophetic nature.

    You said: On the issue of cessationism we’ll have to agree to disagree. All I can say is that I have never heard or seen evidence of any church which consistently and irrefutably displays every single one of the apostolic gifts, including miraculous healing and literal, physical resurrection from the dead.

    Well, I didn’t know every church had to be used in every single specific gift. I mean, if the church is larger, probably. But then you don’t work from the larger context. You can keep viewing posts (ones already up and future ones) over at To Be Continued. We have plenty of examples of such. And Sam Storms is doing a good job in interacting with Michael Patton on his new series about charismatic gifts at Parchment & Pen.

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