e 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 ...
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. Iâm 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."
JUDAH AND TAMAR
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.
Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Copyright (c) 2008 by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Published by Crossway
PDF ISBN 978-1-4335-0423-5
Mobipocket ISBN 978-1-4335-0424-3
ePub ISBN 978-1-4335-2121-8
... 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.
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.
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Christus Victor (Part 3)
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."
"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.