Sunday, December 28, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 1 commentary 1: establishing the basic premise that Driscoll thinks Christians can actually be demonized

Driscoll freely said that his most controversial proposal is that Christians can, in fact, be demonized both through external oppression (accusations, lies, vain regrets, sometimes even attacks on the body) and internal influence (through the long-term impact of unrepentant sin, on the one hand, or possibly through outrageous sins committed against the demonized person on the other). 

While we have not discussed the "extraordinary demonic" from part 2 of the spiritual warfare series.

a few words about that section seem in order before we proceed.  What is striking about the "extraordinary demonic" section is that it features things like a story around 00:74:16 where Mark Driscoll recounted laying in bed and feeling pressure on his throat so that he was unable to breath. at 75 Driscoll mentions disagreeing with Neil T. Anderson (sic?) on the necessity of rebuking demons out loud.  Suffice it to say for the sake of discussing Part 3 it will help to know of Mark Driscoll's accounts of the direct spiritual attacks he has recounted before discussing the methodology of the demonic inventory and trial process. 

It may be the interest of theologians to discuss whether Driscoll's analogy about the house as an explanation of how a Christian can be demonically oppressed lines up with various streams of Christian thought.  Driscoll presents his idea as the centrist, commonsensical position regardless of whether or not his position might be considered tenable on exegetical or historical grounds.

In favor of at least some of his ideas, he proposes that Ananias and Saphhira were described as filled with Satan by the apostle Peter.  On the other hand, Driscoll seems on vastly slippier footing claiming that Jesus claimed that Peter was Satan as a way to say Peter was possessed by Satan.  "satan" is, after all, normally understood as a word that means adversary or accuser.  The Gospels may quote Jesus as having said "Get behind me Satan" but this is hardly the same thing as saying "and Satan entered into Judas Iscariot." 

There are a couple of things worth noting in some of the prooftexts Driscoll provided for some of his points. For instance, while in the notes in the pdf Driscoll has Romans 8 37-39 mentioned in the audio he sounds like he's referencing this as John 8, for some reason. 

There's also an actually big problem in a specific case study, the Gerasene demonic.

Second, the matter of Legion. Mark Driscoll said, "Jesus calls one guy Legion because he's got many demons in him.  Totally."

Yeah, um, no.  In Mark and Luke the man who is demonized speaks the name "Legion" and in Matthew 8:28- 34 (a detail atheists and non-Christians have cheerfully pointed out for us for millennia) there are two demoniacs in the region and Jesus doesn't use the name "Legion" there, either.  So Driscoll's basically 0 for 3 on every Gospel as backing him up saying Jesus called "one guy Legion" for any reason at all.  Check it out for yourself.

So Driscoll's basically 0 for 3 on every Gospel as backing him up saying Jesus called "one guy Legion" for any reason at all.  Now some readers may protest that this seems like a pretty pedantic point to bring up.  Maybe, but if a guy is purporting to love the Bible, just teach the Bible and care about what it says, this is such a basic mistake to make it's surprising Driscoll made it and that not a single person in the audience (all pastors and deacons of Mars Hill, no less) pointed out this painfully obvious case on the part of Mark Driscoll either flubbing a reference to biblical texts or revealing an outright failure of biblical literacy.  This isn't forgetting the name of that guy who had a vineyard Ahab wanted (Naboth) whose death was arranged by Jezebel.  This is failing to remember basic details about one of the exorcisms Jesus performed that was covered by the synoptics.  If it's all about Jesus you'd have thought Mark Driscoll could get something about the life of Jesus as straightforward as this right when he's instructing pastors. 

Well, by Driscoll's account he was kind of sick at that stage and wasn't gonna be as energetic, but still. 

It's important to keep in mind that whether or not you agree with Driscoll's premise here it wasn't presented in a vacuum.  We'll get to a potential application of Driscoll's proposal that professing Christians could, in fact, be demonized in some way by consider a potential application in the next post.

The most practical consideration in Driscoll's practical considerations is that he basically said that non-Christians can't be helped from their demonic traps and that if you're not dealing with a Christian you're wasting time.  You have to figure out if the person who may be demonized is a Christian or not.

But if you stop and think about this a bit there are curious implications to this.  Driscoll had, through a good chunk of part 1 made a case that the greatest threats to the health of Mars Hill weren't going to be from outsiders but from insiders.  If, as Wenatchee The Hatchet proposes, the spiritual warfare session from 2008 was a starting point for what Steve Tompkins called "the ad hominem narrative" then in this third part of the session Driscoll spells out that counselees seeking help from Mars Hill pastors may be demonized.  Bear in mind that this was February 2008 and Driscoll had already said that the proposal that the executive elders didn't love the church was a demonic lie, the consider how all of this instruction might have informed pastors who were meeting with members who had not yet left Mars Hill and had questions about the governance changes or the real estate acquisitions?  Driscoll had planted the seed of saying that expressing doubt about the love the executive elders had for the regular people as a demonic lie, let that seed take root in the applied pastoral counseling of campus pastors and what may have bloomed?

Wenatchee The Hatchet has already unpacked the social and political context in which the February 2008 session was given.

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