Last week we discussed a bit about how Mark Driscoll fielded a question in a vodcast whether or not anorexia is a sin.
Then we got to part 2, in which it seemed necessary to point out that while Driscoll said in the vodcast something to the effect of "Satan, demons are lying to you ... " that Driscoll's previously shared teaching on the matter of the extent to which Satan would bother with you or me average nobody Christian is hard to pin down.
Well, it seems yesterday Driscoll decided to more directly field the old question of whether or not Christians can be demonized.
We believe Christians may be deceived, accused, or tempted by Satan and may yield to those attacks (though they do not have to). If believers begin to respond wrongly to such things, they may give demons influence in their lives. Apparently an evil spirit can empower, energize, encourage, and exploit a believer's own sinful desires. Examples would include Peter (Matt. 16:2-23) and Ananias (Acts 5:3). As children of God, regenerated and indwelt by the Spirit, we are responsible to and empowered by God to resist Satan, and if we do resist, we need not suffer from his influence (Eph 6:10-18); 1 Pet. 5:7-9; 1 John 4:1-4; 5:1, 18-19).
He revisited some material from Death By Love, that was co-authored with Gerry Breshears. But we've discussed this before. There's an as yet unanswered question as to how much of Death By Love Breshears wrote. Why? Because ... thanks to a screen capture and a link to an old Resurgence post preserved over here:
[that link to theresurgence is not only dead but robots.txt still in effect]
It's Always Something at Mars Hill Church
Author: Mark Driscoll
POSTED ON: 09.19.06
We are still giving 10 percent of our money to help lead the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. I'm still writing a lot, including a book titled Death by Love on the subject of the cross that is nearing completion. [emphasis added] This week we did a free training about preaching for nearly a hundred pastors in our area and the guys ate a lot of meat for lunch. We captured my lecture on preaching and will vodcast it in chunks here on this site free of charge, as always, before too long. We've also upgraded our cameras to high-def so that the free stuff we do give away through Resurgence and Mars Hill will be as high quality as possible in an effort to help equip as many people around the world as possible on our dime.
So ... it looks as though back in September 2006 the book titled Death by Love was nearly complete and that Mark Driscoll was writing it himself. He might have been co-authoring the book with Breshears at the time but if he was there's not much said to that effect.
Nor has Driscoll mentioned much lately how much his ideas about how Christians can, in fact, be demonized, was explained at length in his 2008 spiritual warfare seminar. He discussed it some in Part 2, Christus Victor
06.19ish Second thing, what about Christians? Can Christians be demon possessed? Not in terms of ownership, no. You belong to God, right? You belong to God. Some would say, therefore, Satan doesn't work on Christians. Well, sure he does. He attacked Jesus. --say, "Yeah, well, he [Satan] can't internally influence them." Well, yeah, he can. Jesus looks at Peter and says, "Get behind me--" what? Satan. In Acts 5 there's a couple called Ananias and Sapphira. They were members of the church, believers, they were bringing their tithe after selling some land, and they withheld part of their alleged pledged tithe, and Peter looks at them and says "Why has Satan so filled your heart? You've not lied to men but to God the Holy Spirit." Why has Satan so filled your heart? Right at the center and core of who you are. Satan work's from THERE. [emphases added]The same language again in Ephesians, "Don't be drunk with wine, be FILLED with the Holy Spirit." Why are you FILLED in your heart with Satan? Christians can't be owned, possessed in terms of demons but they can be externally oppressed and (this will be my most controversial statement) internally influenced. Not possessed, not controlled. [emphasis added]
I'll use a very simple analogy, very controversial. There are huge books written warring over this. Some would argue, "Well, Satan can't have any access to a believer because God and Satan don't occupy the same space." I said, "Well they did in the days of Job when Satan was allowed to go into the presence of God." In me I have the flesh and my new nature. I have my depravity and the Holy Spirit. The world, God and Satan are at work there. Now God is greater, to be sure, and the only way I believe a believer is really opened up to the demonic is through sin and folly and lies and they open up themselves up. Are they possessed? NO. Are they internally influenced? Possibly. Possibly, for some.8:21
In the same way, okay, I'll give you an analogy. I own my house. It's my house. No one has any right to live there but let's say I just invite over some total losers (drug addicts, alcoholics, freeloaders, whatever) and I let `em eat my food, hang out, sleep on the couch, crash in the bedroom, I just let `em live there. I don't kick `em out, I don't do anything. Do they own the house? Do they possess the house? No. Do they have access to it? Well, yeah, I opened the door, I let `em in. Are they gonna create havoc in my house? Yeah, they're gonna ruin everything. So what do I need to do? I need to kick `em out because they have no right to be there and then I need to lock the door and not invite `em in ever again. I'm saying in that simple analogy that's kinda how Satan and demons work. If you open up your life, and this is not, not, you know, you had a bad day and said a bad word, this is a Christian who all of a sudden you're into the demonic; you're sick and you want to be healed so you go to some healer and now you're involved in demons; there's sin in your life that you've never really dealt with, that kind of stuff. You're doing drugs, you're opening yourself up to an altered state of conscioucesness (the Bible says to be self-controlled and alert and resist the devil and not you're not doing that cuz you're into drugs and alcohol and bizarre spirituality). You can open the door, bad guys move in, they don't OWN the house, you can kick `em out, lock the door. That's my description of internal influence. It's in very extreme cases and this isn't very often but it's possible.
One of the things that has never been addressed that I think is important to bring back into discussion, since Driscoll seems determined to keep mining theological ideas from his Mars Hill era in such a selective way, is that nobody seems to have asked whether Mark Driscoll could potentially have become demonized within the taxonomy of his own ideas about how demonic footholds occur.
Take the beginning of "the ordinary demonic" from his 2008 session, not enough sex in marriage.
How many of you would think that a couple that doesn't have enough sex is experiencing demonic spiritual warfare? It's true. How many Christian marriages divorce? Well, statistically, more than those who are not Christian. When non-Christians can work it out a rate that is more successful than Christians that would indicate to me that Satan has really found a way to climb into bed between a husband and a wife and, in one way or another, cause devastation.
When I'm meeting with a couple and one of them, maybe it's the husband, says, "Well, my wife's not being very nice to me so I'm gonna deny her sex and until she's nice to me I'm gonna withhold it." That's demonic. ...
To be sure, there are sex addicts in marriage who are unreasonable in their expectations of their spouse but what I'm talking about is the common situation where one person in the marriage wants to be intimate more often than the other and they're rejected, they become bitter, Satan comes in and feeds that bitterness, baits the hook of their flesh with the temptation of the world, and all of a sudden Satan puts in front of them images and people and opportunities to lead them astray and to destroy everything.
Driscoll, almost notoriously, lamented the lack of sex in his marriage as a point over which he became bitter, which is actually another element of what Driscoll described as "the ordinary demonic". It seemed pertinent to ask whether with half a decade or more of "not enough sex in marriage' by Mark Driscoll's account and his bitterness about it whether or not that collectively could have been a demonic foothold in Mark Driscoll's life.
That got discussed somewhat briefly there. Here is where we posed the question of how, if Mark was so bitter, nobody in the leadership scene at the Board level seemed to notice it.
Part 6:1 Timothy 3:1-7
Preached February 08, 2004
... I love my wife. I've been totally faithful to her. I'm a one-woman man. I met her at 17. I married her at 21. I've been chasing her ever since. I'm quicker than she is, so I'm happily married. You know, things are good. I just am. I love my wife. I adore my wife. I enjoy my wife, you know? ...
Thanks to the narrative in Real Marriage, we now know that basically a decade's worth of Mark Driscoll's life in ministry seemed to be full of bitterness and resentment about the lack of sex he was getting from his wife. Between those two points, not enough sex in marriage and bitterness about it, it doesn't seem unreasonable, by dint of Mark Driscoll's own history of teaching about the ways Christians can open up demonic footholds, whether Mark Driscoll himself could fit as having been to some degree demonized.
Grace Driscoll (assuming for the sake of conversation she actually wrote a word of Real Marriage that her name is attached to, which I sometimes doubt now), said that Mark seemed to view sex as a god. Mark Driscoll himself described himself as having tended to see sex as a god. At some length we revisited potential evidence for the past-tense, with an open ended question about when, if ever, sex stopped being a god for Mark Driscoll.
Now Driscoll was emphatic that bitterness is what is in your heart that gets brought out by troubles. Nobody makes you bitter, you are bitter.
What he says is, if you're a Christian and God, through Jesus Christ, is not bitter with you but forgives you then you must use the Gospel in your relationships to forgive other people. You have no reason to be bitter with them. In being bitter with them what you are saying is, "I refuse to use the Gospel for my relationships. I refuse to allow Jesus to do anything." And when you say that you ARE saying, "I am inviting Satan instead."We began this whole discussion saying "Do not give the Devil a foothold." Bitterness gives him a foothold and it leads to death and destruction. How many of you are truly bitter against God because you don't have the spiritual office, authority, power, income that you want? Things aren't going the way that YOU want. The spouse that you wanted you didn't get. The spouse you thought you were getting ISN'T the way they appear. The sex, the children, the money, the power, the health, the appearance that YOU wanted but you didn't get so, deep down, you're really unhappy with God, you feel like He kinda let you down. That's bitterness.
Okay, so if we run with this, and if we consider that Mark Driscoll described himself as being bitter for years against his wife on the issue of sex and described both "not enough sex in marriage" and bitterness as demonic footholds, how could Mark Driscoll or those who support him not concede that it was at least possible that within Mark Driscoll's own understanding and teaching about Christians and demonization he could very well have become demonized? By 2008 Mark Driscoll had formulated some kind of case to Grace Driscoll that the cure for his mood swings and depression was more frequent sex so perhaps all this was the sort of teaching that could be presented with the lack-of-sex years safely behind him.
If Mark Driscoll had made sex into a god and his self-prescribed cure for his mood swings and depression was more sex ... how did Mark Driscoll repent of making sex a god, exactly? By convincing his wife to have sex with him more? Now a secularist or simply any Christian who doesn't agree with every point made by Mark Driscoll about spiritual warfare could propose that there may have been other explanations besides demons at play but Driscoll's teaching doesn't exactly leave a lot of room open for those avenues. That was one of a few things I disagreed with during my time at Mars Hill, the propensity within the leadership culture to only define sin in active and conscious terms rather than concede that many sins are inadvertent and motivated by something besides pride.
Since Driscoll seems determined to keep recycling his old content without necessarily making all of the old content available in its original, earlier form (most notably the 2008 spiritual warfare seminar) it seems necessary to revisit the material and help people get a clearer sense of how much recycled content Mark Driscoll's working from these days. For those of us who called Mars Hill home ten years ago he had sermons where he warned against us putting too much stock in guys who do their sermons, pull up stakes and leave, and then start over somewhere else recycling their greatest hits.