This is a web of topics about which Wenatchee The Hatchet has more than a passing interest. Transitioning out of Pentecostalism had a lot to do with a set of changing positions Wenatchee had about eschatology, pneumatology and certain fads in the early 1990s. One of the shifts was discovering that tons of Protestants were not premillennial dispensationalists or futurists on the subject of Revelation in particular and the apocalyptic genre in genre. Another shift was in moving away from the "second blessing" approach to pneumatology that has remained prevalent in Pentecostal and charismatic circles. Yet another shift had to do with rejecting the frenzy of both the spiritual warfare fad and the healing of memories Christian appropriation of the recovered memory counseling fad that was disastrously prevalent in the Reagan years around the time another fad of Satanism fears was also riding high. For those who have mountains of patience for the mountain of previous writing Wenatchee The Hatchet has done on this set of topics ... :
The short version is that Driscoll shared enough cases of people who he claimed he saw or who saw themselves molested as children, at ages so young all credible brain research suggests long-term memories are not generally able to form yet, that it's difficult to take Driscoll's counseling approach as credible. Even in the early 1990s there were evangelicals and fundamentalists who expressed reservations about the recovered memory approach. How could you know those memories weren't just fleshly fallible things? Worse yet, how could a Christian be sure that a recovered memory might not be a demonic lie planted in the mind of an unsuspecting believer who had been suckered by some psychologist? You may get the basic idea.
What was alarming about the 2008 warfare session when I heard it shortly after it was made was that it sounded like Driscoll had simply taken up and assimilated recovered memory tropes and crazy stuff like Rebecca Brown MD stuff for spiritual warfare, the stuff that inspired me to leave Pentecostalism, and yet it was here being promulgated to leaders within Mars Hill. Having been a bit on the fence and unsure what was accurate about the controversial firings and having been upset about what seemed to be the fiscal mistake of dumping a million and a half into a piece of real estate we couldn't turn into Ballard 2.0 it was the 2008 spiritual warfare series Driscoll gave that, once I heard it, was the nail in the coffin for formal membership renewal. If THIS stuff was how Driscoll was teaching Mars Hill pastors to counsel people then there was no legitimate reason to voluntarily submit to this kind of thing. In one case Driscoll managed to hit the recovered memory trope of someone dedicated in an occult ritual as an infant they couldn't remember happening
I've seen children dedicated in occult 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.
Way to get ever debunked 1980s era pop psychology fad of note into one single-sentence narrative there.
But it isn't always a recovered memory. Take this story that Driscoll seems to have gotten some mileage out of. USUALLY it seems he's witnessing sexual molestations or rapes and it could seem as though many of the events were present-tense replays of long-ago events. But there's this:
Upon occasion when I get up to preach I see, just like a [makes "whif" sound] screen in front of me, I'll see somebody get raped or abused and 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 Earl building. This gal walks by, nice gal, member of the church. This was when the church was small. And there 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 pastor." 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. Just like a TV. I said, "Hey! come here for a sec. ... Last night did your husband throw you against the wall and have you by the throat, physically assault you and tell you if you told anyone he would kill you?" 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. I said, "What did you do to your wife last night? Why'd you this? Why'd you throw her against the wall?" And he gets very angry, they're sitting on the couch, he says, "Why did you tell him?" I said, "She didn't, Jesus did." Jesus did.
Whether or not the story happened as Driscoll recounted it would depend on the two anonymous alleged parties saying that's exactly how it played out. They can opt to speak up if they wish.
But Wenatchee The Hatchet has been aiming to discuss this sprawling session not just as some doctrinal survey but as a speech made by Mark Driscoll to the leadership culture in early 2008 in the wake of the controversial firings. There's a political subtext that may need to be borne in mind. It wasn't 100% accurate or anything but sometimes Driscoll would see things, the sins of people in the church. Couple this with Driscoll's warning that there was "a demonic" lie and couple it with "I see things" and Driscoll was making an implicit case that could be interpreted across the leadership culture as follows:
1) doubts about the executive leadership (Driscoll and the other EEs) is basically demonic
2) Mark Driscoll has divinely given powers to read people's proverbial mail and witness their sins or sins against them
3) since Christians can actually be demonized one could not assume that even members or long-time deacons were necessarily even Christians and if they were sincerely Christians they could still be demonized.
It could be construed as Driscoll saying, "I'm the executive elder with the divinely appointed calling and I have super-powers from God so if you question what I say God's leading us into you're being demonic and I may be given insight into all the stuff needed to take you down."
Many people have wondered why for so many years no one in the leadership culture thought to speak up about what Mark Driscoll was saying and doing. If you take the 2008 spiritual warfare session as a whole, the sweep of Driscoll's session might provide more than just a few clues.