Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Warren Throckmorton mentions "demon trials" held at Mars Hill, references story of a former member


The former member/attender is not "Amy" as recounted by Matthew Paul Turner back in 2012 but a woman named Darlene who has shared her story through welovemarshill.com.  Darlene Lopez may be the first person who has been part of Mars Hill to reference how MHC has at times approached what Driscoll called "demonic counseling" in the Spiritual Warfare presentation he gave church leaders in February 2008.  We've referenced several extended segments from just part two of that presentation, "The Devil" here at Wenatchee The Hatchet.

The last most recent reference in a tagged post was on the fact that Mark Driscoll's talk about how in some cases women fear their husbands are cheating on them and that these women sinfully believe lies was given just days before Nicholas Francisco disappeared, a detail that has been brought to light by Christine Carter sharing some of her story at welovemarshill.com


While Carter was not counseled by Driscoll her story features being told by an elder to make herself more available to her husband and that her husband loved her and wouldn't cheat on her, more or less.  Well ... unfortunately for everyone the headlines about Nicholas Francisco have already told that tale.  Whoever believed he had discernment (because the highest likelihood is that a male in some eldership role at Mars Hill was advising Carter) regarding Nicholas Francisco didn't actually have it.

An earlier post here at Wenatchee The Hatchet surveyed Mark Driscoll's teaching from the 2008 event on the subject of the "ordinary demonic" and how the first entry in that set of things was "not enough sex within marriage".  In Real Marriage Mark Driscoll related that he persuaded Grace Driscoll the cure for his mood swings and depression was more frequent sex.  Curiously, when talking about the marriages of other people he was willing to say that withholding sex in marriage was simply satanic. 

As noted earlier, one of the more alarming omissions in Real Marriage was that neither Mark nor Grace Driscoll mentioned that Grace had no less than five C-sections and a miscarriage even though Mark Driscoll himself mentioned all of this in Death By Love.  He even went further and said, in a letter drafted to address his youngest son, that after four C-sections and a miscarriage Grace was ready to be done having children but that Mark Driscoll did not at that point want to do anything permanent to preclude the possibility of another child.  Thus, eventually, their youngest child was born.  So when in the 2012 book the Driscolls talk about how Mark was dissatisfied with the frequency and the quality of the sex he was having at no point would the variable of having children approximately once every two years (not counting the miscarriage) and the associated physical trauma of a C-section delivery seem irrelevant to the amount of sex that was or wasn't happening in the Driscoll house. 

What the 2012 book failed to mention got mentioned in Death By Love in a Driscollian letter that has not only informed a Driscoll kid but the whole world that he exists because while Grace wanted to be done having children already Mark didn't want to cut off the possibility of a future child for which both Driscolls are now grateful.  Okay ... but when the kid grows up to be about seventeen will it seem wise to have out there for millions to read the sentences that convey the sense of "Your mom didn't want more kids but I wasn't willing to stop at four and so that's how we have you."  Something to mull over, perhaps.  In the past Driscoll has preached about the evils of parental favoritism within the family and in a sense it's a possibility that a form of unhealthy tension in a parent-child relationship could be if one parent ever leverages the information that only one of the two parents wanted another child who could have been precluded from life had that one parent with misgivings gotten their way.  It seems that a husband and father should avoid saying anything that could be construed in this fashion but what do single guys know about stuff like that?  Moving along ... .

Prior to that blog post Wenatchee The Hatchet surveyed part 2 of the Spiritual Warfare series from 2008 as a context for Mark Driscoll's comment in Real Marriage about how bitter he was toward his wife over the lack of sex he felt he was getting in the marriage.  If Mark Driscoll applied to himself his teaching to other Mars Hill leaders in 2008 the idea that any bitterness of any kind is by definition a satanic foothold embraced regardless of the legitimacy of the grievance then couldn't it be said by Driscoll's own working definition of bitterness as a satanic foothold that he had satanically defiled much (if not all) of Mars Hill through his bitterness toward Grace over the lack of sex he felt he was enduring?


Within about a week of that blog post going up the entire audio of the Spiritual Warfare series came down.

Also missing was the Peasant Princess series in which Driscoll related a story about how he basically threatened 20 guys on a dorm floor with assault if they talked to or looked at his girlfriend Grace when she began to attend college a year prior to Mark Driscoll's college career.

So, as you can see from this post Wenatchee The Hatchet has covered just a few parts of just part 2 of Spiritual Warfare from 2008 and by now the audio is no longer available.

There are a few things worth noting for those who never heard this material.  The Spiritual Warfare content was never preached as a sermon on a Sunday, it was given on a more mid-week event and was just for leaders at Mars Hill Church.  Rank and file members did not hear this material.  Wenatchee The Hatchet was, years ago, in a ministry that was fielding doctrinal and textual questions on behalf of MH leadership and people in that ministry were expected to be familiar with the content from the Spiritual Warfare teaching event.  Besides having doubts about the fiscal competence of MH leadership with real estate Wenatchee The Hatchet also could not endorse the Spiritual Warfare teaching and opted not to renew membership.

For those who may remember all the way back to posts in 2012, the post that Slate linked to as supposedly objecting to Mark Driscoll's leadership style was really where I wrote that I came to doubt both the competence and the good will of pastoral counseling at Mars Hill Church and felt it would be imprudent to continue membership.  At the time I stopped being part of Mars Hill I heard rumors but had no confirmation of what had happened with the trials of Meyer and Petry.  My reasons for leaving Mars Hill had much more to do with doubts about their fiscal competence as a leadership culture and even graver doubts about the counseling activities of Mars Hill pastors.  In time these concerns turned out to be more well-founded than even I had guessed. 

My opinion, of course.  Your mileage may vary.

As more people publicly share things they have observed and experienced at Mars Hill it may be necessary to point out that the spiritual warfare teaching from 2008 has been pulled but not in any way disavowed or repudiated.  In fact when Matthew Paul Turner published the story of "Amy" he was advised to refer to the Spiritual Warfare series that has in the last few months been removed.

There are those who may not consider the plagiarism and list-rigging scandals associated with Mark Driscoll to be as problematic as what has emerged about MH and MD on spiritual warfare.  My advice is to avoid any temptation to separate these categories.  Plagiarism matters and rigging sales in a way that is not honest matters just as employing spiritual warfare teaching that runs with the idea that, say, Maslow's hierarchy of needs is satanic matters.  It matters because in the last year's worth of controversies we seem to be seeing a situation in which the leadership judges itself (or has itself judged by) a markedly different standard than the laity would be.  While Driscoll and other elders at Mars Hill might say that a husband bitter toward his wife over a lack of sex was giving the devil a foothold through bitterness that could wreck everything Driscoll has never seemed to connect the dots about how his own bitterness toward Grace about sex could have, by the measure of his own teachings about and to others, have defiled the church that is Mars Hill.  When confronted on air by Janet Mefferd about plagiarism Driscoll said that maybe he made a mistake and that a mistake is not a sin.  And yet if a woman believes a lie, specifically that her husband is cheating on her when he isn't, the 2008 spiritual warfare series indicated that believing lies was demonic.  What about telling lies?

So the concerns Wenatchee The Hatchet has written about are definitely not either one or the other, plagiarism and sales-rigging or spiritual warfare.  The concern is cumulative.  Take the entirety of the Driscoll narrative across book after book and sermon after sermon over a twelve year period and the cumulative concern is that he has increasingly shown himself in public to have become the sort of thing he warned us from the pulpit to be wary of.  Now as, reportedly, people have begun to leave Mars Hill Church the most that seems to be conveyed by leadership is that people need to stick together during this difficult season.  Mainly, it seems, stand by your men because even if the Board of Advisors and Accountability admits up front that there have been gag orders they approve of and a contract to rig a place for Real Marriage on the NYT bestseller list, well, everybody just hold on tight and be grateful the executive elders have patiently endured so many false claims about them that the BOAA has in several cases admitted aren't even false claims at all.

In the Ten Commandments series Mark Driscoll commented about how "we even lie about our lying" and went so far as to propose that even if you tell the truth but tell it in a way that aims to bring harm to someone that's still basically lying. 


Sometimes gossips say things that are untrue, but more often they’re simply “saying what they should not.” Telling other people about somebody else’s business is no way to love your neighbor. In fact, gossip is often sharing damaging information with the intent of murdering someone’s reputation. Murder can be physical death, but gossips commit a form of murder that destroys a person, emotionally or psychologically.

So, surely, sharing that Grace Driscoll didn't want a fifth child after she endured four C-sections and a miscarriage in Death By Love couldn't under any circumstances be taken by anyone as Mark Driscoll sharing information that is potentially true but that maybe didn't need to be advertised to any of the Driscoll kids, let alone the entire world? 

This polemic from Driscoll reads a bit as though he's saying even if you tell the truth but the truth damages someone's reputation that's still, basically, lying.  If you read stuff that's true but your heart-motive is bad then it's somehow still dishonesty.  If Driscoll applied this remarkably stringent measure of deceit to himself then how could seven of his books have ended up plagiarizing the works of others and including egregious factual errors such as 1) the impossible claim that Arminius was the son-in-law of Calvin or 2) that to say "begotten" in the creeds somehow gives a foothold to Arianism or 3) that the Targum Neofiti was written two centuries before rather than after the birth of Jesus, let alone that a Jewish rabbinical commentary on Genesis written centuries before the birth of Jesus could somehow affirm a Trinitarian view of YHWH?

If Driscoll measured himself by the measurements he use to say that others are liars or satanic could he even pass his own tests? 

Believe it or not Wenatchee The Hatchet has only blogged about at most maybe ten percent of the content from the 2008 Spiritual Warfare teaching event.  That Throckmorton has broached any of this material even indirectly is certainly interesting.

Er, finally (for now) those who have been willing to trudge through all that who may want to read an extremely long discourse on the nexus of debunked recovered memory counseling, the cessationist/continuationist debate in Christian pneumatology, and, uh, Mark "I see things" Driscoll ...


So, that's the overview of what WtH has written in the past about the spiritual warfare series and you can find a few quotes from the material at your leisure amid these posts.  This year has been a little odd at Wenatchee The Hatchet because it's sometimes begun to seem as though WtH will quote something and then the relevant material from MH or Driscoll will just vanish a week later. 

But since one of my key concerns over the last six years was that the competence and good will of Mars Hill counseling might lead to some very serious damage to people and relationships I'll just reiterate what I've obviously been saying for a while--it's not just the stuff that has come to light in the last year that is worth being worried about, it's piles of stuff only people who have been inside the church who have not shared it publicly until now that also needs to be considered.  Even if Driscoll hadn't shown himself eager to roll out "satanic" to denounce a James Cameron movie while comparing Jack Bauer to Christ Driscoll's public track record of invoking Jesus for pop culture he likes and Satan to inveigh against stuff he wished he didn't spend money on might give us all cause to doubt how far we should take any of his advice on what, precisely, is demonic. 

But Wenatchee the Hatchet may just leave it to others to flesh out the full scale of material from Driscoll on spiritual warfare as it connects to stuff like gossipy women or how Maslow's hierarchy of needs is totally satanic.  

What has been suggested by some of the stories at welovemarshill.com is that the kind of counseling approach Mark Driscoll outlined in his teaching event at 2008 may not have been common but there's little doubt that the paradigms and principles Driscoll laid out to MH leadership in early 2008 were things he considered normative for "demonic counseling". Whether Mark Driscoll could pass some of the evaluations he has asked members to assess themselves by (or be assessed through by a MH elder) remains to be seen.

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