Friday, March 30, 2018

6-29-2005 Mark Driscoll, "But I still believe that God kills people, and sometimes I pray for it." as background to Driscoll's approach to church governance at Mars Hill

Mark Driscoll has The Trinity Church down in Arizona, and he also has a lot of his older Mars Hill sermon material up at his website.  He doesn't have everything, though.  Select sermons from Christians Gone Wild and the Philippians series are shorter now than they were in an earlier decade.
We looked at how that sermon went from being roughly 71 minutes to a mere 27 minutes at a blog post back in 2016.
One Body, Many Parts
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
July 30, 2006

If you stream it at Mark Driscoll's site the sermon is 27:07

If you download it from here ...
What got removed was all the talk about the fantastic real estate Mars Hill was getting in lieu of actually getting what was going to become the Mars Hill corporate headquarters to work as the second big Ballard campus Mark Driscoll was assuring everyone was going to happen at the end of his 2006 book Confessions of a Reformission Rev (unless, of course, there's a newer edition where all that material is cut from the book).

So we've already established that as Mark Driscoll has re:launched his preaching and teaching career he's re:cycled a lot of material along the way in his re:branding process.

We looked at something last year about the tenth anniversary of Mark Driscoll's "Fathers and Fighting" sermon.

Specifically we looked at how Driscoll claimed that you either loved confrontation or loved sin.  There was more than a bit of behind the scenes politics going on regarding the governance of Mars Hill in 2007.  There was also some incendiary rhetoric from the pulpit in which Mark Driscoll said that what he'd like to do was "go Old Testament" on some people, even within the leadership of the church. 

As with anything related to the history of Mars Hill and governance there's no shortcuts here. Last year I referenced a passage in Death By Love in which Driscoll mentioned praying that if someone did not repent of his sins that that someone would be judged by God.  In Driscoll's accounting of things the man died.  We'll get to the Death By Love version of the story but first we need to revisit a 2005 anecdote Driscoll mentioned in one of his sermons.  As we've established here before, the bulk of Death By Love was written by Driscoll in 2006, even though the book was published in 2008 with Gerry Breshears as co-author.
from a September 2006 Resurgence update

... 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. ...

Given that Driscoll stated he was writing Death by Love in 2006 the material we're about to look at from his 2005 sermon may not have been too far removed from the writing Driscoll was doing for Death By Love the following year. This is where we get to the anecdote in which Driscoll said, "But I still believe that God kills people, and sometimes I pray for it."

Part 37 of Genesis
Pastor Mark Driscoll | Genesis 38 | June 26, 2005
“Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.” We’re gonna deal with her. She is gonna be a very important story. “But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight;” – so God smoked him – “Put him to death.” What does that mean in Hebrew? He killed him. Metaphor – he killed him literally – metaphysically challenged. The guy is dead, okay. Oh, that’s troubling. That’s the point. Stop whatever you’re doing. He’s gonna kill you. That’s the point. I know some of you have this wrong view of God as a big sky fairy, lavender tights, lemon yellow half shirt, herbal tea. I know you say, “We love that fairy, Jesus, that hippie Christ. We love that guy.” 
Look, that’s the god up on Broadway today for the parade. This is the real God, all right. This is the real God. This God gets ticked, and he kills people. And some of you say, “Oh, but that’s the Old Testament – his junior high years. He was immature and emotional. And now we have the New Testament God, and he’s all grown up now.” God kills people in the New Testament too.

I’ll give you two places you can look when you go home, Acts 5, Ananias and Saphira. A married couple go into church. They withhold part of their tithe, and God kills them in the church, right? And it says, “Great fear sees the whole church.” Offering went through the roof. They made budget. It was amazing. People are like, “Put the keys in there, Martha, and the credit cards and whatever. Here, put these shoes in – whatever he wants. He seems to be in a mood today.”
The other is in 1 Corinthians 11 where it says people are taking communion without repenting of sin, so they die in the church. Can you imagine that? You’re coming up for communion, you and your girlfriend who woke up together this morning to come to Mars Hill. And the two of you are walking down the aisle, and you’re like stepping over all your drinking buddies, like, “Who am I?” “What happened?” “They didn’t repent.” Like, “Oh, well, let’s go back to our seat then.” You know, this is – he kills people. He does. He kills them. He gets sick of them. He gets sick of them and says, “You keep sinning. You won’t stop. I’ll stop you. You’re dead.”
Okay, this guy’s about 18 years of age. He’s done. He just got out of high school. He was getting ready to go to Cancun, you know, for his big graduation party. This guy was just gonna go to college; just joined his frat; 18 year old kid – done. He’s thinking, “Oh, you only live once. You’re young. Have fun. Have a good,” – dead.
Okay, now some of you, this bothers you because you’re evil and it scares you. I understand. It’s supposed to. The scary parts are to scare you. It’s crazy how that goes together. You’re supposed to look at it and go, “He kills evil people. I’m an evil person. Oh, no.” That’s the point – supposed to scare you into repentance, go straight. [10:42] Now God still does this. This will sound terrible in addition to many other things I will say. But I still believe that God kills people, and sometimes I pray for it.
I’ll give you an example – and I don’t. High mercy counseling – a gift. I know. If I wasn’t doing this, I’d definitely be in the counseling. So, I’m meeting with this high school kid a few years ago. His mom and dad were Christians. He and his brother were Christians. They went overseas for many years into a foreign culture to preach the Gospel and start and church and have people meet Jesus. And they were there for many years.
Well, the whole time, his dad was having this escalating online sexual relationship with another man here in the United States. And next thing you know it, dad doesn’t say anything to his boys or the mom or to the church or to the ministry – nothing. He just secretly empties the bank account, gets on an airplane, flies to the United States to go be with his gay lover. I think it was in New York City. And then sends a letter or an email or something back to the family saying, “Good luck.” And the boys get it. They’re like, “What happened to dad?” “What? Dad left the family. Dad’s in New York. Dad emptied the bank account. Oh, I thought we belonged to Jesus.”
Now they had a hard time leaving the country. They’re flat broke. They’re totally shocked. The family’s destroyed. All the new converts are wondering is Jesus really God? Does he really change lives? Everything’s thrown into mayhem. I’m meeting with the teenage kid, and he says, “What is all this?” He says, “You know, it’s got me doubting whether or not God pays attention anymore, God cares. We get all these people. They’re getting ready to deny their faith. We’re flat broke. My mom’s heartbroken. My dad’s got all the money, living life, doing what he wants.” He said, “Where’s God in all of this?” [12:21] I said, “Well, here, let’s do this. Let’s pray that he either repents or God kills him – your dad.” 
So, we prayed together. I prayed mostly. And I said, “Okay, here’s the deal. Let’s pray that he either repents, and if he’s never gonna repent, then God will just kill him.” So, we prayed. He says, “Okay, now we’ll see what happens.” About a week later, dad dies of an instantaneous massive heart attack. No history of heart disease in his family. He’s in good health. No seeming cause or trigger. His heart literally exploded in his chest cavity. He died instantaneously.
[emphasis added] Now all of a sudden all those people go, “Oh, yeah, God does deal with sin.” So the mission gets saved. The churches get saved. You know, everything gets preserved.
You know what? Some people will never change. Not everybody’s going to heaven. Not everybody lives happily ever after. Not everybody makes a turn for the better. Some people just keep going. And God knows their heart, and with certain people, he looks at them and says, “That’s it. You’re only getting worse. You’re never gonna get better. You’re dead. I’m killing you. It’s over.”
Some of you need to realize that it is a terrifying thing, the Bible says, to fall into the hands of the living God. When you’re dealing with a holy, righteous, just God, and you’re just absolutely defying him repeatedly and mocking him, there does come a point with many people where he’s just done because sin leads to death. And if you keep sinning, you’ll either die in your sin, or he’ll kill you for your sin. But one way or another, you’ll die.

So in Driscoll's account, he prayed that a man he regarded as being in unrepentant sin would either be brought to repentance or that God would kill the man.  Lo and behold, Driscoll claimed that the man died.  We're never told who the man actually was and so we can't be sure the man even existed or was potentially a composite.  By now we've established that Mark Driscoll, particularly in the 2013-2014 period, was capable of directly contradicting himself at any number of points about events and details. 
But if the account was recycled in Death by Love it may have been considerably more fuzzy than what was recounted in the sermon above, rather undetailed though even that narrative was.

Death by Love: Letters from the Cross
Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Copyright (c) 2008 by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Published by Crossway
ISBN 978-1-4335-3533-8
PDF ISBN 978-1-4335-0423-5
Mobipocket ISBN 978-1-4335-0424-3
ePub ISBN 978-1-4335-2121-8

 pages 129-130

... For example, I once met with a young man whose father, a pastor, suddenly left his ministry, wife, and teenage sons to have a homosexual affair with a man he had met on the Internet. He told his teenage sons that there is no God, Jesus did not rise from death, and that there is no such thing as punishment for sin. His sons experienced a profound crisis of faith, and since their dad kept saying that he was happy for the first time in his life, they wondered if God existed, and if he did, whether he cared. To make matters worse, the entire church he had been pastoring was experiencing the same sort of faith crisis. I prayed with one of the sons, asking God to either bring their father to repentance or pour out his wrath on the man as an example. Within days, the father died of an unexplainable, sudden explosion of his heart. [emphases added]

While we can't make a definitive connection of this timely death to the wrath of God, it is in keeping with what we see in instances like Genesis 38 where God kills the two sons of Judah because of their wickedness. 
In this account the pastor suddenly left the ministry, wife, and teenage sons to have an affair with a man the pastor had met on the internet.  In the sermon we just quoted, however, the pastor was discovered to have been cultivating the online relationship during the duration of the missions trip which took years.  The affair between the men was described as escalating over the course of years in the sermon, whereas in Death By Love the crisis is presented as more abrupt. While in the book account the betrayal is presented as more abrupt and unmotivated the account in the book differs in that Driscoll does not explicitly say that he prayed that if the former pastor did not repent that God kill the man. 

Driscoll claiming "we can't make a definitive connection of this timely death to the wrath of God" despite the fact that the only reason to mention the death at all is to make a point that God still can kill people.  Driscoll also references sons of Judah, the same as those mentioned in the sermon quoted above.  Driscoll's book version stops short of what Driscoll spelled out from the pulpit, that he prayed that God would kill a man if the man did not repent. 

The claim that the man died of a sudden heart attack with no prior history of heart failure seems dubious on its own terms.  There may be plenty of people who have their first heart attack without being alert to the preliminary symptoms of heart attacks.  There may also be plenty of people who have their first heart attack and die from it even in the United States.  Perhaps between Mark Driscoll's more confident preaching account in 2005 and writing Death by Love in 2006 (or in the editing and refining process in which Gerry Breshears became co-author) Driscoll hedged a bit. 
Internally none of that would have made a difference.  By 2007 Mark Driscoll had established that he had a story in which he prayed that someone who wasn't repenting of his sin would get killed by God and, in Driscoll's accounting of things, was killed by God.  Walking back the firmness of the claim in a book is somewhat moot.
It is with all that in mind, however, we can turn to Mark Driscoll's early 2008 spiritual warfare session and see that he practically regarded dissent against or distrust of the executive elders of Mars Hill as a demonic, satanic lie.


I think one of the great myths that has come about (it's a demonic lie) is that myself, the executive elders, the senior leaders we don't care about people. [emphasis added] I was the only one who did ANY counseling until we had 800 people. We still do tons of shepherding, counseling, spiritual warfare, conflict. But we try to do so in a way that is humble, that isn't "and here is who I served and here are the demons we cast out and here's the list of people that I've healed." That's demonic. The truth is I love the people as much--actually, more than anyone in this church. And the senior leaders, the campus pastors, the departmental leaders, the executive elders love the people in this church as much or more than anyone else in this church. [emphasis added] And one of my great concerns is not just, "Can you hold hands and help sheep?" but "can you also flip the staff over and defend against a wolf?"  You HAVE to have that discernment, that courage, and that ability to tell someone: "You are in sin. That is false doctrine.  You are not qualified to be a leader. If you do not repent you are not welcome here. And I will speak truthfully to those who want to follow you because my job is for the well-being of the sheep."
It is within this established context of Mark Driscoll addressing leaders of Mars Hill on the topic of spiritual warfare, in the months after a controversial political reorganization of the church, and doing so having established a history of claiming from the pulpit he had once prayed that God would kill an unrepentant man who had previously been a pastor, that we need to have some clearer understanding of the political implications of one of Mark Driscoll's more notorious claims, " ... I see things ... ."

Spiritual Warfare
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Christus Victor (Part 3)

On occasion I see things. I see things. Like I was meeting with one person, and they didn't know this but they were abused when they were a child and I said, "When you were a child, you were abused. This person did this to you, physically touched you this way." They said, "How do you know?" I said, "I don't know, it's like I got a TV right here and I'm seeing it." They said, "No, that never happened." I said, "Go ask them. Go ask if they actually did what I think they did and I see that they did."  They went and asked this person, "When I was a little kid did you do this?" and the person said, "Yeah [slowly], but you were only like a year or two old. How do you remember that?" They said, "Well, Pastor Mark told me." I'm not a guru. I'm not a freak. I don't talk about this. If I did talk about it everybody'd want to meet with me and I'd end up like one of those guys on TV, but some of you have this visual ability to see things. [emphasis added]

By the way, when I heard this the year it was distributed I concluded I could not under any circumstances renew my membership if this was where he was going. Now back to ...

There was one woman I dealt with, she never told her husband that she had committed adultery on him early in the relationship. I said:
"You know (she was sitting there with her husband), you know I think the root of all this is Satan has a foothold in your life because you never told your husband about that really tall blond guy that you met at the bar. And then you went back to the hotel, and you laid on your back, and you undressed yourself, and he climbed on top of you, and you had sex with him, and snuggled up with him for a while, and deep down in your heart (even though you had just met him) you desired him because (secretly) he is the fantasy body type."

I said:
"You remember that place, it was that cheap hotel with that certain colored bedspread. You did it--you had sex with the light on because you weren't ashamed and you wanted him to see you and you wanted to see him."

She's just looking at me, like ...

I said, "You know, it was about ten years ago." I see everything.
She looks at her husband.  He says, "Is that true?" She says, "Yeah. He was 6'2", blonde hair, blue eyes. Yeah."

Some of you, when you're counseling, you will see things. You will literally get the discernment to see things. I can't even explain it. It doesn't happen all the time.

Sometimes your counselee, they will see things. I found this with people, I'm, okay,-like, "I'm gonna ask the demon questions, you tell me what they say."  They don't say anything. I say, "What do you hear?" and they say, "Nothing, but I'm seeing stuff." "What, oh, oh. What's that?"
"I'm seeing, you know, when I was little, my grandpa molested me. I didn't know that."
I said, "Well, let's not assume it's true. Go ask your grandpa." Grandpa says, "Yeah [slowly], when you were little I molested you." Grandpa was assuming they'd be too young to remember so he'd only molest grandkids up until a certain age. But they saw it. Supernatural. It's a whole other realm. It's like the Matrix. You can take the blue pill. You can take the red pill.  You can go into this whole other world and that's the way it works.

So I say tell me everything you hear, tell me everything you see and sometimes I see things, too. I see things, too.  I've seen women raped.

I've seen children molested. I've seen people abused. I've seen people beaten. I've seen horrible things done. Horrible things done.

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.

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.
  [emphasis added] 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. 

There are people who are hyper-spiritual total freaks. They make stuff up.  They hear from demons. They pretend to have insight and discernment and there are some people who have real gift of discernment, and I'm not saying I'm 100% always right with it, but some of you are gonna have gift of discernment and you need to, you need to grow to learn in the use of that gift. Sometimes people will hear things. Sometimes people will see things.

Note that all of the things Mark Driscoll saw involved sex and violence.  It was rapes and molestations.  It was sexual abuse and domestic abuse.  Mark Driscoll's spiritual super powers didn't involve divining that zoning and land use issues would render it impossible for Mars Hill elders to use the 50th street building for what Driscoll claimed it would be used for.   Driscoll's capacity to see things seemed to largely involved the kinds of tropes in recovered memory counseling of the sort that has been discredited over the last thirty odd years.  Driscoll didn't foresee that the Mars Hill corporate headquarters would end up having its deed given back to the lender in lieu of foreclosure.
But anyone familiar with the land use issues of the 50th street building could have shared with the Mars Hill elders without invoking supernatural powers that the zoning issues and land use issues made what was once the Mars Hill corporate headquarters an absolute boondoggle.  Back in 2005 the elders weren't listening or weren't curious.
Driscoll's super-powers of discerning and seeing things may also not have applied to citing and crediting the work of other authors thoroughly in the first editions of a couple of books, either. 
Where was that "I see things" discernment when it was ever time to doubt that contracting with Result Source might be a terrible idea?  Or that the use of such a means to game the New York Times best seller list might damage the credibility of the church?  Driscoll's ability to "see things" was mainly sexy stuff. 
And yet, as we learned from Justin Dean's book PR Matters there was one case of a volunteer pastor who was in an escalatingly flirtatious relationship with a minor that Dean intervened in.  Since Dean has never been documented as having been on staff as a communications person for any church but Mars Hill the process of elimination is pretty straightforward at the moment.  It's tough to see where Mark Driscoll's "I see things" discernment was in that account Justin Dean shared in his book. 
The story starts on page 48 of PR Matters and at about 10:52 if you listen to the audio book podcast version.  That's discussed over here.
If Mark Driscoll's discernment allowed him to "see things" why did Driscoll not see things in advance of risk?  Sure, they say you can't prove a negative, but coming from a man who has claimed for the record that he prayed a guy would be killed by God if he didn't repent and also claimed to have spiritual discernment, the person making the claims does need to provide some kind of evidence.  To date we have no evidence that even the initial story of a guy dying is even something that happened.
I'm not saying that there was no dead former pastor who went overseas, just that Driscoll never provides any indication that his story can be taken as more than just a story shared for dramatic effect within the polemic of a sermon of the sort preachers are known to use.
There is, of course, the question of why anyone claiming to be a spiritual shepherd of anyone from any religious tradition has an incentive to claim for the record something like, "I pray and they die".  Praying for enemies and blessing those that persecute you?  I see precedent for that in the teachings of Jesus.  I also recall Jesus rebuking disciples who wanted to call down judgment on those who were not in the same posse.  It's not that God can't kill whomever God chooses, it's that the New Testament seems to be fairly steady on the issue that we who call ourselves Christians are not commanded to pray for the death of anybody as best I can recall.
Because what Driscoll's story amounts to is from 2005 is him saying he believed that if someone didn't repent that guy deserved to die.  And what came of it? Well, as best can be translated from Driscoll's story ... the brand was preserved.  I just don't see how, as a Christian, there's much benefit I npraying that someone who used to be a minister dies so that the brand of Jesus can be preserved.  Jesus doesn't need one former pastor to die of a heart attack the guy might have been dying of anyway in order for Christians to recognize that Christ is risen. 
But suppose we play along here.  Suppose we propose for the sake of a thought experiment that it is, in fact, okay to pay that if someone or some people do not repent that God destroy them in some fashion.  Couldn't someone propose that a person pray to the Lord that if the leadership of Mars Hill would not truly repent of how they treated people that the Lord destroy their church?  Mark Driscoll may not fully appreciate that his polemic, as presented, could be turned around and used on him and his own legacy.  If Mark Driscoll could say from the pulpit in 2005 that he prayed that a guy would die and the guy died, couldn't former Mars Hill members pray that if Mark Driscoll didn't really repent of how he treated people that God would destroy the corporate entity formerly known as Mars Hill?  If that's so then one possible interpretation of "a trap has been set" could be that Driscoll got a chance to see everything he built ... or seized control of, at least, wrested from his control.  What if the trap that had been set was of Mark Driscoll's own making and he never realized it? 
Meanwhile, it's Good Friday, so perhaps Driscoll has a service going on in which he'll share, again, how your sins put Jesus on the cross and you deserve Hell and everything else is a gift.
Maybe he won't share stories about how one time he prayed that if a guy wouldn't repent that God would kill the guy.  It's in bad taste, after all.  But we can remember that at one point Driscoll shared that kind of story from the pulpit to make a point that God can choose to kill people. 
He could have done that by just teaching the text of Genesis without interpolating his own "Guess what I did!?" story.
Now these are the kinds of stories cessationists already have some comments about.  I don't really need to address them.  Since Driscoll claimed during those years to be a charismatic with a seatbelt it seems useful to point out that whatever that's supposed to mean, there did not seem to be much of a seatbelt in place for Driscoll's own claims about himself. 
To put it in more political terms, Driscoll's claims to divination and the capacity to pray for the death of unrepentant men in leadership can help to establish that Driscoll set up a kind of grand narrative or ethos in which he had super powers and invoked the potential, though only with a few vague case studies, of being able to have a divinely given surveillance system within the confines of Mars Hill.  It's like he's reading their mail., so he said.  Sometimes he saw things. 
That was a bit more than ten years ago in February 2008.  It was clear that he regarded dissent against or distrust of the executive elders of Mars Hill as demonic.  He had also established as far back as 2005 he was willing to say from the pulpit he was willing to pray that God would kill a person he regarded as in unrepentant sin If the person would not relent. 
A question Mark Driscoll's supporters ... whoever those may be now ... need to ask themselves is whether they would genuinely feel comfortable having people pray in a comparable way about Mark Driscoll.  How well does such a praxis fit the Golden Rule?  How well does such a praxis fit the words of Christ on the Cross who forgave His enemies?  Of course it's easy to remember these words on Good Friday just as they are easy to remember any time we read from the Gospels.  So the question comes back to why Driscoll felt it was a good thing to pray that a man would die, one man, so that God could be proven to be willing to kill in the present. 
Even a continuationist could propose that a guy who dies of a  heart attack, even a guy with no prior history of such, may have just died because he wasn't keeping tabs on his health.  American guys?  Pretty likely to not see doctors often enough.  It's also possible that an American guy who's engaging in a double life would be even less eager to see a doctor out of a sense of secrecy or shame.  In other words ... that heart attack that Driscoll all but explicitly invoked as divine judgment, might have been a preventable health disaster.  Not to belittle or diminish the betrayal mentioned in the story, but it tells us a lot about the kind of punitive justice Driscoll celebrated his being able to pray for and receive.
And thanks to ... some people ... Mark Driscoll is still a pastor out there.  There are people who think he needs a lot of grace because we all sin.  Not all of us get embroiled in plagiarism controversies. Not all of us get on stage to say we pray that God kills people.  Not all of us had the means to have people contract with Result Source to secure a place on the New York Times best seller list.  But, but we all sin.
And Mark Driscoll prayed that if a guy wouldn't repent that God would kill the guy, and in the 2005 sermon claimed that the guy died. The question that Mark Driscoll supporters need to consider in 2018, to say nothing of Mark Driscoll himself, is not whether or not we're all sinners but why, in light of the precedent of Mark Driscoll's preaching and teaching over the last twenty years, he should be subject to a different standard than the one he espoused having with regard to other people. Would Mark Driscoll want that kind of prayer prayed about him that he prayed for the anonymous dead guy?  Here we are in 2018 and there is no Mars Hill.  What happened?  Where's Mars Hill? Things fell apart.  Why?  Well ... it depends on who you ask.  Maybe Mark Driscoll could answer the question of what happened at Mars Hill.  Maybe he could also answer a question as to whether he still believes he can pray that a person dies and that God will answer his prayer.  And, by the way, who was that guy Driscoll claimed died?  That would go the longest distance toward establishing that Mark Driscoll's 2005 homiletic story was more than just a story.
But a lowly blogger can't ask that, someone from the press could give that a try. 


Cal of Chelcice said...

It's not equivalent to praying for people to die, but I do think Driscoll was right to not shy away from the imprecatory psalms in the life of the church (even if he did it in his own self-promoting way). There seems to be a split between limp-wristed modern Christians who faint at the word discipline, and then there are those foaming-fundies who call curses down on this and on that. Rather, there needs to be a way to pray, and act collectively, with the mind of St. Paul who turned a man out for the destruction of his flesh, with the hope he return. I'm not quite sure what that looks like, probably not praying for someone to die, but I won't blush at that suggestion.

But the rapid revival of Driscoll's career, like many other fallen stars (Perry Noble, Tullian Tchvijian, et al.), they're too useful to let fall by the way side. There is still a lot of money to made with those "ministry opportunities". I'm loosely sympathetic with Hobbes when he complained about the Presbyterians, among other Dissenters, whose preaching and praying was all show-business, and they used it to shame powerful people into their service and lure wealthy widows and the gullible into bankrolling their efforts. Sometimes I'd like to put a moratorium on length of preaching and styles, but I don't mean it.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

My hunch is he toned down the formulation in the book because when we see it in print from the 2005 he said he prayed God would kill someone. No argument about your paragraph one but I think I've made a cumulative case that whatever Mark did was not that healthy path. :) We can "probably" agree that whatever that golden mean on discipline looks like, MH did not manage it.

Mark never preached from or through any of the Psalms, ever, as best I can recall. Obviously my concern is not so much the imprecatory prayers in the abstract as that Driscoll and his current fanbase might have a double standard in which they don't want any such prayers prayed about Driscoll. Should someone pray that if Driscoll doesn't truly repent and won't get better that God will kill him? What came out about the MH leadership was they had a double standard regime where it was not okay if someone did X to them but it was revealed over time they felt they had license to do X, Y and Z to others.

I didn't pray that, and I don't plan to, but I admit that I DID pray, regularly, that if the leadership of Mars Hill would not repent of their ways that God would destroy the credibility of the empire and the brand and that if that was what it took for people to repent then may it be so.