Sunday, December 28, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 1 commentary 2: possible applications of Driscoll's ideas on the demonic with members in light of Driscoll's word that doubt about the executive elders was "a demonic 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. 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's crucial to understand that by February 2008 the dust was settling on the changes in bylaws that had been made in 2007 and members had raised questions about the reason for the terminations of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.  Driscoll's opprobrium can't be seen as having been shared in a vacuum.

Bear in mind that Driscoll has told pastors at Mars Hill they had tended to emphasize the world and the flesh at the expense of Satan and demons.  Driscoll had also indicated that the pastors had tended to go too easy on people because they wanted to be sympathetic. 

Keep these 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?

So if Driscoll had explained to leaders in February 2008 that there was a demonic lie in the form of doubting the love of the executive elders toward the church at large then they were explicitly instructed to view any expression of doubt about the policies and decisions of executive leadership as demonic in basic origin, right?

Driscoll once told Justin Taylor that in early 2008 they lost a thousand members

Why, at this stage in your life and given your calling, did you feel led to put together an introduction to theology?

Like all of my writing, this project was born out of my work as one of the elders at Mars Hill. We have enjoyed an ocean of God’s grace at our church. As we expand to more campuses, states, and possibly even nations, I wanted to do all I could to ensure doctrinal fidelity and clarity for our church. As the tree grows and the fruit increases, the roots need to sink deep as well. So, when our attendance was at about six thousand people a few years ago, we did something unprecedented. We canceled out the membership of everyone in our church and I preached the Doctrine series for thirteen weeks. Each sermon was well over an hour and included me answering text-messaged questions from our people.

Those who made it through the entire series were interviewed, and those who evidenced true faith in Christ and signed our membership covenant were installed as new members. We had always had a high bar for membership, but I wanted to raise that bar higher as we pursued our goal of becoming, by God’s grace, a church of fifty thousand. In so doing, we lost about a thousand people, dropped to five thousand total, and missed budget for the first time in our church’s history. We then rebounded over the next few years to ten thousand people a week and as many as thirteen thousand on our peak weekend. We had pruned, which hurt, but then we harvested, which was healing. It’s not all about the numbers, and we were willing to lose a lot of people, but God proved that there is power in the gospel and that a people united around core biblical doctrine can be used by God to bear much fruit by grace. We now use the book and its small group questions as our membership process for Mars Hill.

Given the egregiously wrong things Mark Driscoll said about the Targum Neofiti in the doctrine series (and Driscoll's partner in doctrinal/historical crime there was Gerry Breshears) it would be hard to sustain across the board the idea that the bar was raised for doctrinal expectations at Mars Hill in 2008.  But even if we set that aside for a time, if people know that during the same time period Driscoll was counseling pastors at Mars Hill to treat doubt about the executive leadership's actions and motives as demonic then campus pastors across the Mars Hill system were primed to view questions about, let alone disagreement with, Mars Hill leadership changing governance and dictating firings and shunning as a demonic thing.

What if a thousand people who had been at Mars Hill previously didn't leave because the bar was raised for doctrine but because in the wake of the 2007 controversies members who had previously been in good standing were being told by campus pastors they were sinfully questioning the top brass because in February 2008 Driscoll had made it clear that there was a demonic lie afoot?

No comments: