Friday, November 21, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 7 commentary, if we compare the 2008 session to the 2012 narrative of Real Marriage it seems the "ordinary demonic" abounded.

At this point there is no plausible deniability as to whether or not Mark Driscoll could have somehow stumbled upon the concepts of "one-ism" and "two-ism" by some providential happenstance.  He explicitly credited Peter Jones with the concepts back in 2008 in the spiritual warfare seminar he gave to leaders. 

Noting this on the anniversary of Janet Mefferd's on air accusation that Mark Driscoll was a plagiarist who, in particular, used a lot of Jones' ideas with sparse citation, is simply noting what people should have already been aware of.  But since not everyone heard or became familiar with the 2008 spiritual warfare session it seemed good to transcribe and comment on this session to get to this specific point and then move forward from it.

Because the way Mark Driscoll describes idolatry as worship of fame and money and sex can lead a person to ask whether or not since he gave that talk in 2008 Driscoll hasn't confessed to a kind of worship of those things.  In Real Marriage Driscoll's concession that he tended to view sex as a god was a given.  What Driscoll didn't clear up in the 2008 session was whether one of his precepts worked in reverse, if sexual sin is idolatry would idolatry of sex also be sexual sin, too?  In other words, while Driscoll was going on about the usual suspects for conservative Protestants and sexuality one can't help but ask why an idolization or idealization of the sexual/marital bond in itself could not constitute an idolatry that needed to be repented of.  For those who read Real Marriage the resolution of the tension between Mark and Grace Driscoll was resolved how?  Apparently by Mark Driscoll convincing his wife that having more sex with him would cure his mood swings and depression.  How was that supposed to be repenting of making a god of sex, exactly?

A case could be made that Driscoll has idolized fame?  Why? Simple, he admitted to using Result Source for Real Marriage, a book which has turned out to have never credited Dan Allender's work in its first edition. In fact the number of citation errors in Real Marriage is so high that between the citation errors and the Result Source deal and the problematic questions the narrative of Real Marriage opens up in light of both the general public narrative of Mark Driscoll from 2000 to 2008 on the one hand and the 2012 narrative in Real Marriage itself on the other, the writing and promotion of the 2012 book can be construed as the book that at every conceivable level destroyed the legacy of Mars Hill Church.  The Driscolls saying they were privately bitter and resentful and confused while Driscoll preached some of his most salacious sermons on sex upended the veracity and credibility of the narrative Mars Hill members and leaders had tended to believe.  The book gaining a place on the NYT bestseller list by way of Result Source Inc activity showed the book gained its reputation through a dishonest method, and then it turned out, at length, that a lot of ideas that were written and published by others were not adequately cited. 

And in light of the scope of the problems in the Driscoll dating and marriage relationship, especially when all the axiomatic teaching from the 2008 spiritual warfare teaching is accounted for so far, one is virtually forced to ask whether or not Mark Driscoll, by the metrics of his own ideas of the "ordinary demonic" started into and stayed in a marriage for many years that was simply characterized by the demonic, the ORDINARY demonic, but the demonic nonetheless.

After having admonished pastors to use reduction ad absurdum in apologetics and debate it's possible to quote Driscoll accurately; quote him completely in context; and cross reference the cumulative and disparate narrative strands of his public statements in ministry, and suggest from that that by now the burden of proof is going to be on Mark Driscoll himself and the Board of Overseers and the Board of Advisors & Accountabilty to explain why Mark Driscoll ISN'T demonized and HASN'T been demonized for at least some stretch of his ministry career.  Go through every category of "ordinary demonic" from the 2008 session and cross reference it to the scandals and stories associated with Driscoll and this possibility seems exceptionally hard to rule out. 

It's not that Wenatchee The Hatchet thinks Mark Driscoll is actually demonized, as such, but that Mark Driscoll's own axioms and anecdotes, taken as a whole and in context, seem to testify on a grand scale against Mark Driscoll's own spiritual health and any board that would to any degree exonerate Driscoll in light of his cumulative self-testimony and axioms on spiritual warfare simply may not have the competence in theology, biblical interpretation, or normal human relations to have any business speaking on these matters in public. 

It's not just that the 2012 book up-ended the previous narrative and showed that it may have been a sham, it's that for those leaders and laity in ministry who heard the 2008 spiritual warfare session it raised some pretty awkward questions about whether by Mark Driscoll's own teachings we'd all have to consider his marriage so fraught with the "ordinary demonic" it may have passed into something more extraordinary.  A more generous explanation could be that Mark Driscoll, after a year or two of sleep deprivation and self-attested symptoms that could indicate a caffeine dependency, crashed both mentally as well as physically and has been overdue for sounder physical and psychological care than he may have been getting from the likes of Catanzaro since about 2007. The best possible thing for Mark Driscoll at this point would be to be away from any kind of ministry altogether and to just be a rank and file member of a church learning how to actually submit to authority, a thing he's been so famous for advising others to do.

Or, if Driscoll wants to be measured by his own axioms ... the burden of proof is on him and his defenders to explain why he didn't end up demonized.  Wenatchee The Hatchet is going to suggest the alternative is the more generous explanation.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 7: idolatry as ordinary demonic and Driscoll name-drops Peter Jones' one-ism and two-ism
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll

Part 2: The Devil


Last, too, ordinary demonic, idolatry. 1 John 5:18-21 talks about idolatry. I hit it on Sunday that idolatry is worshipping creatION instead of creaTOR. Romans 1:25 says they exchanged the truth of God for a lie or THE lie and the worshipped and served created things rather than the creator God. Peter Jones, a leading scholar in the world on paganism, lectured here not long ago, did a great job in Romans 1. He said there really are only two world views, there's THE truth and THE lie. And THE truth is that God is creator and he rules over creation and we exist to worship creator and steward creation. The lie is that God and creation are the same. It's two-ism vs one-ism. Two-ism is creator/creation. One-ism is that creator and creation are essentially the same. It comes out in philosophical language like monism, pantheism, panentheism, (pantheism [is] that all creation is God, panentheism that creation is the body which contains God). This is most Eastern religions, most pagan religions, radical environmentalism, it's one-ism. We believe in two-ism. We believe that God made things not that God and those things are esentially the same.

What happens is if you believe the lie instead of the truth, if you believe one-ism instead of two-ism, you worship created things rather than creator God. And in Romans 1 he says this leads to lesbianism and homosexuality and sexual perversion and sin of all kinds. You know what it is? God made the body very good. He made everything good. He made the body very good. Gender, sexuality, pleasure, I read for you guys Sunday Steven Arterburn, a Christian counselor who says that the only thing as pleasurable as sex, chemically, is heroin, that's why it's so addictive. God intends sex to be between one man and one woman and the pleasure and passion that bond them together as a loving married couple (which is why when sex is outside of marriage it leads to devastation, addiction and destruction) people who commit sexual sin, they are worshipping the body, they're worshipping nudity, they're worshipping parts of the body, they're worshipping the pleasures of their body, they're worshipping the appearance, taste, touch, sight, smell of someone else's body. Sexual sin is idolatry.  It's worshipping creation rather than creator. It's a much bigger issue than just a lifestyle issue. It's a worship issue.

I shared with you on Sunday, as well, the insight of Martin Luther, who said that the first two commandments is that there's only one God and the second is that you're only to worship God and Luther says if you don't break the first two commandments you won't break the rest. You won't murder anybody. You won't commit adultery. You won't covet, you won't lie, you won't steal, you won't because if you worship God ONLY you won't worship sex, power, fame, money and glory and you won't commit idolatry. Peter Kreeft, the philosopher, says the opposite of Christianity is not atheism but idolatry. That we're all worshippers. We all GIVE ourselves to someone or something. Romans 11:36 he talks about, you know, "to God be the glory now and forever. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And there he's talking about glory, holding something in glory. He's talking about worship, giving yourself to it. Sacrifice time, energy, money, health, for the good of this person, this thing, this feeling, this experience, that in that way sports is religion and sex is religion and work is religion and intellect is religion and power is religion and fame is religion and it's ALL idolatry. It's ALL the worship of ME and US and the feelings and the passions and the joys and the pleasures and the pride that we enjoy.
That ultimately Satan just wants to take our Imago Dei that is made to worship and have it worship created things rather than creator God. That's all he wants to do and he's so good at it and people are idolatrous and they're worshipping Satan when they commit idolatry.

POSTSCRIPT: 11-23-2014
The lecture(s) potentially in question may be the following:

January 8, 2008 and for a second reference to the same lecture, Gary Shavey was mentioning tha tit was coming up in December 2007.
Resurgence is hosting two free events on January 8, 2008 to help the church and believers understand and address this root issue. We invite all Pacific Northwest pastors, church planters and ministry leaders to join Dr. Peter Jones, professor and author, for a free morning workshop that includes lunch. ...

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 6: on lies as ordinary demonic, a bit more about believing lies than telling lies
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll

Part 2: The Devil

John chapter 8, Satan also likes to work through the ordinary demonic of lies. Jesus says there that Satan is a liar. He is the father of lies. He has been lying since the beginning. Lying is his native tongue.

Here's the situation with lies, lies work. [emphasis added] The vast majority of your demonic counseling will simply be figuring out the lies that people believe. Jesus says "You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free." That's, "People are in bondage to lies and the truth sets them free."
This can be theological but sometimes it's just really practical.
[short pause]

I'll give you one situation, I use this analogy all the time.  Let's say there's a woman and she believes that her husband doesn't love her and she believes that he's cheating on her committing adultery.  Let's say it's a total lie, it's not true. If she believes that will that effect anything? It destroys everything. Why? Because it doesn't need to be true to devastate it just needs to be believed and then acted upon as if it were true.

One of the things I like to do with people who believe lies--and it's amazing [the] lies people believe. We'll get into accusations and vain regrets and all of that--but one of the things I like to do with people is I just like to have them keep a journal. Tell me all the lies you believe about others, God, theology, the truth, Jesus, yourself. What are the lies?  I mean, what are the lies. 

I've had people come to me with pages and pages and pages and pages of lies. I've had woman tell me things like, "I deserved to be raped." That's a lie. "Well, I got raped because I had too much to drink and I was under-dressed and I was kind of asking for it." That's a lie. I had one young woman tell me (I've done more than my share of abuse counseling and rape victims and molestations and it's devastating but so many of them believe lies) [emphasis added] I had one gal who was molested by her father say, "You know, it really is my fault. When I was a little girl I would sit on his lap and I would rub his face and I would kiss his cheek and he did molest me but it was my fault because I, I  caused him to desire me."

No, that's a lie.  A little girl should sit on her daddy's lap and rub his face and kiss him on the check and that should elicit no sexual response in the daddy. In fact just the opposite of sexual response, pure fatherly love. Embrace, snuggle, hug, kiss encourage, nothing sexual. That's in him, not in you.  That's his flesh. That's not your affection. That's a lie. That's a lie.

People believe all kinds of lies, it's unbelievable. One of the first things you've gotta do is figure out what all the lies are. That's why I have them journal out, "What are all the lies that you believe." Just journal what you think might be a lie. And if they're married I bring in their spouse. I'll ask, "What are the lies that your spouse believes?" and usually the spouse has a better read on it.
I had one woman, wonderful gal, sweet gal, she was convinced of the lie that her husband was committing adultery on her. So every time he'd go to work she would literally have a panic attack and would go into the closet and shut the door

and be there for hours having a literal, full-blown nervous breakdown panic attack.
Her husband's a great guy. Loves Jesus, loves her. It [the idea that the husband was cheating on his wife] was a total lie but something in her believed that lie and I think, for her, that struck at the core of her sense of security and identity and Satan got her to believe that lie and it absolutely undid her.  She went to counseling; she was diagnosed bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic, multiple personality disorder (I believe that such things are true but sometimes they're a junk drawer for other diagnoses for people that are experiencing real spiritual problems); they put her on all kinds of medication, she still had panic attacks, still freaking out, still in the closet; and I just told her, I said, "Sweetheart, it's a lie." It's a lie.

Her husband's sitting right there, I said, "Okay, God's honest truth, have you ever committed adultery on your wife?"
"When you leave the house are you going to commit adultery?"
"No, I'm going to work."
"Have you ever touched another woman, are you looking at porn, are you doing anything."
He's like, "I'm not doing anything. I go to work and I come home. That's what I'm doing. I love her.  You know, I'm delighted to be with her. She's the best."

I looked at her, I said, "Okay, here's what faith looks like for you--believe the truth. Don't believe the lie. If you believe the lie, you're going to ruin everything. If you believe the truth, you'll be okay. And you know what?  By God's grace she repented of her feeding the lie. She needed to see that believing a lie was a sin. It was a sin to be repented of. Here's the truth, here's the lie, I chose the lie. That's a sin, I need to repent.  I need to believe the truth. I need to have faith to live in light of the truth, like Jesus said, then I'll be free in the truth.

[She] went off her medication, no more panic attacks, no diagnoses, she's fine. This has been some years, they've got a loving marriage, they're doing great, they love Jesus. They're wonderful people.  But she fed the lie.  Don't feed the lies. And they're everywhere and part of your art in counseling is asking enough questions to figure out what the lies are that people believe.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 6 commentary

It's a bit of a puzzle why Driscoll camped out so much on the ordinary demonic being that a person believes lies rather than tells lies. 

There may be virtually nothing to say beyond that general observation on the anniversary of Janet Mefferd's on air confrontation in interview with Mark Driscoll where she accused him of being a plagiarist and referenced the work of Peter Jones.  And on that note ... let's just move along to the part in the February 5, 2008 spiritual warfare session where Driscoll explicitly refers to Peter Jones.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 5: commentary 2, cross referencing Mark Driscoll's policy about who can be friends with Grace to the narratives in Real Marriage

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0

page 123
One night, Mark and I were casually talking about past relationships and situations in our lives when I found myself describing sexual abuse that had occurred in my past as if I were explaining how I did the laundry yesterday--no emotion, seemingly no pain, no pause for tears or reflection on my words. Mark was crying as I finished the story, and when I asked what was wrong, he informed me that I had just explained abuse.  What? I had so much shame and had stuffed it for so long that I didn't even know it was abuse until Mark told me it more than fit the definition.
page 124
I had described to Mark a relationship I was in before he and I ever met, with a guy who was a little older than me and who came from a rough family life. I met the guy in church, and I was an emotionally needy, naive girl who didn't have brothers and wasn't informed about boys or protected from the bad ones--admittedly not a good combination. We voluntarily slept together, and I lost my virginity to him. Over time the guy became controlling, telling me what clothes I couldn't wear in public, because he was very jealous. He controlled when I went out with my friends and who I could hang out with (which basically was rarely and few). He determined my schedule and free time, having me stay with him at his work much of the time. He even organized his life to follow me around and keep an eye on me. It was like having an invisible fence around me, getting stung when going outside the boundaries, and I was ruled by my fears. [emphases added]

Sadly, I thought all this was him taking care of me and saw myself as increasingly unable to make my own decisions. At one point his jealousy turned to rage, and he ran after me, caught me, and threw me up against a wall. I grew more and more afraid of him, too afraid to tell him to leave me alone. Like many other girls, I didn't see this as abuse and thought he would change, but it continued for too long. I was filled with my own guilt from fornicating and told myself if I married him it would cover my sin somehow. So that was my plan until he confessed he had been sleeping with another girl. Somehow that was the one thing that took my fear away long enough to end the relationship, which I now see as my "way of escape" given by God. If in that moment I had chosen to continue being abused, my life would look completely different.

The first and possibly most striking part of the chapter 7 narrative is one of its earliest claims, that Grace Driscoll simply could not identify what had happened to her so many years ago as sexual abuse until Mark Driscoll said it was.  This is ... possible ... and yet it raises a question of just how compartmentalized Grace Driscoll's thought life might have been if she'd been familiar with Dan Allender's work since at least six years (or more) before the story she recounted to her husband (which Mark Driscoll has at a couple of occasions placed in the zone of 2006).  After all ...

Grace Driscoll
Occupation: Mom
Spouse: Mark
Children: Ashley, Zachariah
Education: B.A. in Public Relations/Communications, with a minor in Technical English

Favorite author: Ken Gire, Dan Allender, Donald S. Whitney, Jerry Bridges, the Apostle Paul (Romans)

After that, it is noteworthy about the earlier man is that he came from a rough family background.  Driscoll has long emphasized his blue-collar, lived-by-a-strip-club, son-of-a-union-drywaller past.  It's worth noting that Mark Driscoll himself, could be described as having lived in a rough neighborhood, and that the prevailing tendencies of the Driscoll clan were toward violence and alcohol-abuse.  His parents left North Dakota to remove their family from that influence.

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0

page 5
The men on my father's side [Mark Driscoll] included uneducated alcoholics, mental patients, and women beaters. This includes an uncle who died of gangren and his sons, roughly my age, who have been in prison for beating women and were supposedly on the television show Cops. One of the main reasons my parents moved from North Dakota to Seattle was to get away from some family members when I was a very young boy.

The next thing that is particularly noteworthy from chapter 7 of Real Marriage is Grace describing the degree to which the abusive boyfriend controlled her social life and how she appeared. 

One of the more remarked-upon anecdotes from the Driscoll marriage has been the "mom haircut" story, which can be quoted as a comparison point to the anonymous former boyfriend of Grace Driscoll.

Real Marriage
page 11
Our marriage was functional but not much fun. As we approached the launch of the church, Grace was pregnant with our first child and suffering from painful stress-related issues caused by her public relations job, which culminated in me apologizing for not bearing the entire financial burden for our family. ...

In this season we shifted into ministry-and-family mode, neglecting our intimacy and falling ot work through our issues. This became apparent to me when my pregnant wife came home from a hair appointment with her previously long hair (that I loved) chopped off and replaced with a short, mommish haircut. She asked what I thought, and could tell from the look on my face. She had put a mom's need for convenience before being a wife. She wept.

So far as controlling who did and didn't get to be friends with Grace Driscoll it is at this point, especially, that the way Mark Driscoll described his gatekeeping activity on behalf of his wife as at least potentially controlling:

February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 2: The Devil

  I'll tell you, in the history of Mars Hill, I mean, I have had to put up a firewall, a moat, guard dogs, and a high wall with barbed wire on the top, and snipers behind it, around my wife. There are certain women who, they just need to know what Grace is doing and they are determined, they say things like, uh, "Hey, we need to have dinner with your family." [slight chuckle] No you don't. "Hey, we need to have coffee." No you don't.  "Hey, phone number." What? Nope. "Email." Nope.  Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

"Oh, come on." Nope.
"But I thought you were our pastor."
I am and my first lesson is to tell you you're Satanic.
"Oh, come on, in our last church the pastor's wife [sob] she was my best friend and I got to talk to her all the time."

Well, she was Satanic, too.  Give me her number, I'll call her and tell her. We'll help her out.

A person could be forgiven for wondering if the distinction between the anonymous boyfriend and the behaviors and actions undertaken by Mark Driscoll to look after and protect his woman might not be considered a distinction without a difference.

Consider that while Grace described the anonymous boyfriend she lost her virginity to as re-ordering his whole life to keep track of her, Mark Driscoll shared from the pulpit in the 2008 Peasant Princess series the lengths to which he would go if Grace so much as forgot to call him one day.  While Driscoll explained the catalyzing incident, that Grace was assigned to a mens' dormitory, it's striking how far he was willing to go (literally) and the actions he was willing to take to ensure that Grace was, in his estimation, going to be safe.
the pertinent anecdotes start at about 33:40
... and this is an ENORMOUS part of my relationship with Grace.  I mean I still remember when I first started seeing her she, uh, she went off to college, I was still in high school and they ran out of housing so they put her in a guys' dorm. And I was like, "What!?" so I got in the car and I drove to the university and I knocked on all the doors of all the guys on her floor. "Hi. My name is Mark. I love this woman. Anyone talks to her, touches her,  thinks about talking about touching her I will beat them. Literally I threatened twenty guys. Just knocked on every door. No way she's gonna get messed with. No way.

Later on when she transferred to another university, WSU, she's five hours away. And she moved out there and her phone wasn't hooked up yet and we didn't have cell phones. And I told her, "When you get there, go to a pay phone. Call me. Let me know you got there safe."  Well she ... didn't call so I got in the car and I drove there. Five hours.  The day I had to work. And I knocked on the door. She answered it and I said, "Whu, you didn't call." She said, "I forgot." I said, "Are you okay?" She said, "I'm okay." So, okay, good, I got in the car and I drove home. Just checking. Six hundred miles.  Who cares? It's Grace.

... even emotionally, people send her nasty emails, text messages, talk trash about me, leave the church and want to take parting shots at her. She has nothing to do with any of it. So I even put a white/black list on her email and some people so some people can email her and the rest come to me. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. So that she doesn't have to feel bad because people are taking shots at her. That's my girl. No shots. That's the rule.

And if that doesn't work (or didn't work) try finding the audio courtesy of ...

The first two anecdotes could be construed as the efforts of someone who could have trusted that his girlfriend was going to be okay and that forgetting to make a phone call did not require driving five hours one way. 

The third anecdote, dating as it does from 2008, may be another case of a form of protecting Grace that post-dated the controversial 2007 re-org, terminations, and trials.  As much as Mark Driscoll has leaned on protecting Grace as the nature of what he's done, let's not forget that Grace has said things recounted by Driscoll or others that suggest she wasn't exactly a shrinking violet.
March 6, 2008
Thor Tolo

When the Lord isn’t talking to this man, kiddingly called a short-fused drama queen by his wife, his critics are blogging about him. Some of the sharper barbs make it difficult for Driscoll to hide the hurt.

Were any of the barbs ultimately as sharp or as prescient as the Elimelech assessment credited to none other than Grace Driscoll?
[roughly one hour in]

...Elimelech is the guy--everything falls apart. It looks dark, it looks bad. He takes a poll he makes a plan. He decides Moab has a lower cost of living. Moab has more vocational opportunity. Moab has food on the table. I will make a plan, I will be the sovereign. I will take care of everything. Trust me. I know what I'm doing. He leads well. He plans well. He tries to be the sovereign (they're all going to die anyways). I am Elimelech.

I asked my wife, "Which one am I?" ... She didn't even breath, didn't even take a breath, "Oh, you're Elimelech." And his name means what? MY GOD IS KING! That was me. If you asked me, Jesus, sovereign, lord, king, God! And if I ever need Him I'll call him but I don't think I do because I've got all this taken care of.

And by Driscoll's own account, he seemed to agree that she was right.

Those words could be considered inadvertently prophetic in light of the pending death of the corporation known as Mars Hill Church. Centralizing and tightening the circle of influence and power into a smaller and more powerful executive branch was considered the necessary thing to have a "nimble" organization that could pick up real estate and make key decisions more efficiently and seven years later that leadership decision catalyzed a trajectory that has led to the death of the corporation, so it would seem. Perhaps it was necessary for Grace to describe her husband as Elimelech and it seems in the long-run he went on being Elimelech anyway.  It was he who said it, after all.
About a year later, during the February 5, 2008 spiritual warfare session Mark Driscoll was explaining how he screened out women from being friends with Grace because of how many were demonic gossips; and how he threatened twenty guys with assault years earlier if they touched her; and how he deleted emails and screened her emails so that she'd never see "nasty emails" about him; then it would seem that the actual gap between one boyfriend and the other could be hard for an outside observer to notice, in light of the sum of public statements the Driscolls have made together.

For all of the years that Mark Driscoll's defenders have insisted he protects women others could legitimately ask whether his idea of protecting a woman doesn't look suspiciously like controlling women.  Taken as a whole Mark Driscoll's statements as a pastor and public figure about the lengths to which he's shielded his wife from what he considered threats can sure "seem" to be in the same basic range of actions that Grace Driscoll described as abusive and controlling on the part of her long-ago anonymous boyfriend mentioned in chapter 7 of Real Marriage.

Throckmorton: Mars Hill Church 2011 and 2012 executive compensation studies

link presented without comment as there are other things incubating.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 5: commentary--on the paradoxical possibility that Driscoll's denunciation of gossip exemplfied the same

There was little to say about part 4 of Part 2 on foolishness and drunkenness.  What might be worth noting about Mark Driscoll's discourse on gossip is that if we do the usual Christianese thing and consult a dictionary as to the meaning of gossip ...
casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true

Then couldn't virtually everything that was anecdotal in the 2008 session that wasn't explicitly referring to Driscoll himself and possibly his wife have paradoxically counted as ... gossip?

That to a large degree Mark Driscoll's lengthy history of using sob stories to gain sympathy for himself directly or through stories about his family has already been discussed, yet it's worth pointing out again because while Mark Driscoll condemned a range of emotional ploys as "female manipulation" they have historically and demonstrably been part of Mark Driscoll's own rhetorical/relational arsenal.

This could be yet another way in which Driscoll denounced a relational method in 2008 that has been inextricably woven into Mark Driscoll's public discussion of himself as a public figure, which arguably reached its zenith in print over here

and from the stage as reported here

But if these sorts of emotionally manipulative ploys were satanic when women did them has Mark Driscoll gained some kind of phallic reprieve from being found wanting in using similarly emotionally manipulative ploys?

What is worth noting is that Driscoll singled out Wendy Alsup is not being like or having any of the traits that the demonic gossip mama/drama queen women had. 

Something else to note about the formal charges leveled by former pastors is that if you were to boil them down to their most distilled essence they basically made a cumulative charge that Mark Driscoll was a bully ... and what seems to be an inferential case that he's a gossip.  So if gossip was something former MH elders concluded was a problem and Mark Driscoll declared that gossip was part of the ordinary demonic ... well ... it's another level at which Mark Driscoll's abstracted teaching on spiritual warfare could be seen as a possible self-indictment.  More and more it could appear that the way at least some former elders have described Mark Driscoll suggests that "slander" seems like gossip and if so, well, Mark Driscoll's bracketing of gossip into the ordinary demonic makes it seem as though there's yet another stupendous gap between the abstracted precept told to leaders and the implications such a precept would have if applied to Driscoll's own conduct and speech.

Some things could be observed about Mark Driscoll's approach to spurning overtures of friendship from women toward his wife but that would necessitate cross-referencing a few things from Real Marriage and Peasant Princess, which warrants a separate post.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 5: the ordinary demonic of gossip as a uniquely womanish vice, and on how womens' ministry was "like juggling knives"
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 2: The Devil

How about this one? Idle gossip and busybodying. 1 Timothy 5:11-15. THIS one is amazing. Ladies this one is especially for you. Some of you say, "Oh, it's not me." Yeah, it is. 1 Timothy 5:11-15, "but refuse to enroll younger widows for when their passions draw them away from Christ they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.  Besides that they learn to be idlers"

Women learn how to make a lot of free time. Going about from house to house. Well now it would be from email to email and from phone call to phone call. Technology makes idle busybodying far more effective than ever.

And not only idlers but also gossips. They like to talk about people. How are you doing? What are you doing? And this isn't sisterly accountability, this is "I need to know what everybody's doing because I like to know what everybody's doing and then I can tell other people what other people are doing and then I can say, `Hey, you need to pray for so-and-so.' and I can make it sound spiritual so that when I'm gossiping and busy-bodying I'm doing so in a way that seems really Jesus-like." And busybodies, they need to know what everybody's doing. They need to know what everybody's doing, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children and manage their household, right? Stay busy, and give the adversary (that's Satan) no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. Hmm.

A woman who's a gossip and a busybody; a woman who has to put her nose in everybody's business and knows what everybody's going on; know what they're doing, she's working with Satan. Now I know most women would say: "No, no, no. I'm not Satanic, I'm concerned. I'm not Satanic, I'm an intercessor. I'm a prayer warrior. I'm not Satanic, I'm an accountability partner.  I'm not Satanic, I'm a concerned friend."  Okay, you're a Satanic intercessory prayer warrior accountability partner concerned friend but just start the whole list with "Satanic" so that we don't misunderstand your job description. 

Now there's a difference between someone inviting you into their life and saying, "I want to be friends, I want to have an accountable  relationship." and you pushing yourself into everyone's life, okay?  I'll tell you, in the history of Mars Hill, I mean, I have had to put up a firewall, a moat, guard dogs, and a high wall with barbed wire on the top, and snipers behind it, around my wife. There are certain women who, they just need to know what Grace is doing and they are determined, they say things like, uh, "Hey, we need to have dinner with your family." [slight chuckle] No you don't. "Hey, we need to have coffee." No you don't.  "Hey, phone number." What? Nope. "Email." Nope.  Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

"Oh, come on." Nope.
"But I thought you were our pastor."
I am and my first lesson is to tell you you're Satanic.
"Oh, come on, in our last church the pastor's wife [sob] she was my best friend and I got to talk to her all the time."
Well, she was Satanic, too.  Give me her number, I'll call her and tell her. We'll help her out.

You ladies KNOW these women. Right? How many of you ladies know these women? They will try first with the hyper-spiritual, "Oh, praise the Lord! I'd love to pray for you. Let's get together. Let's do Christian community. Let's go to heart." If you decline, then they emotionally manipulate, [inhales, sobbing voice], "I thought we were friends, I thought you loved me. I don't have anybody to talk to." It's all manipulation. It's FEMALE manipulation.  Some of you ladies, right now? You think, "I can't believe he said that." It's all true. It's Satanic, Satanic.

Paul says, "Don't be a busybody, stay busy." Right? Your husband, your kids, your family, your home, Jesus Christ. You got things to do.

Busybodies stay busy inserting themselves into everyone else's life. In some churches there are certain women, if you call them, they'll know everything that's going on because, somehow, they know everything. There's a difference between being a woman who is invited into someone's life for friendship, prayer and accountability, and a woman who emotionally manipulates and is pushy and is sometimes hyperspiritual and demanding and forces herself in because she's a drama queen and has to be at the center of all the drama. That is a Satanic woman.

You need to believe that and the worst thing you can do is accomodate her. Okay, we'll have you over for dinner once. And then, the next month, it's "Okay, buddy, we haven't been together in a month. We need to get together again. I'm sure a lot has happened in your life and I don't know what it is and I need to know because I need to know everything. I have a God complex of omniscience. I want to know everything about everybody." And what you find with these people, Paul says, they tend to be gossips, meaning you don't just talk to them, then they talk to other people.  "Well, did you know their marriage is struggling? Did you know that she's depressed?  Did you know that  she's post-partum?  Do you know that, sexually, her husband's impotent?" These are the conversations I've heard in this building. Really?

Sometimes womens' ministry is the cesspool that this kind of activity flourishes in. Some have asked, "Why don't you have womens' ministry?" The answer is we do, but it's, you have to be very careful, it's like juggling knives. You put the wrong women in charge of womens' ministry, the drama queen, the gossip mama, all of a sudden all the women come together, tell her everything, she becomes the pseudo-elder  quasi-matriarch; she's got the dirt on everybody and sometimes the women all get together to just rip on their husbands in the name of prayer requests. Happens all the time. Happens all the time. We have worked very hard so that the women who teach here are like Wendy Alsup who I really love and appreciate and respect. She's not like that. It is not that no woman should lead, that no woman should teach, that no woman should in a position of authority over other women  under the authority of their husband, Jesus and the elders it's just that the wrong women tend to want it. The wrong women tend to want it and they tend to want it for the wrong reasons. And sometimes it's the humble woman, who isn't fighting to be the center of drama, control and power; who doesn't have to be up front; she's usually the one who is most capable and qualified.  

And for you single men as well I would say be very, very careful because if you're on staff at Mars Hill  (everything I say sounds terrible, this will just be added to the pile) there are certain women who will tell you, "I want to marry a pastor." Really? You should want to marry a Christian who loves Jesus, loves you, loves your kids should God give them to you. I've lectured enough Bible colleges and seminaries, the young women who come up and say, "I want to marry a pastor"  my immediate default question is, "Are you a gossip? Are you a busybody? Are you a drama queen?" "No. No, I feel called to serve the Lord."  Well, you can serve the Lord without being called to be a pastor's wife in fact, take it from me, it's easier to be a woman and serve the Lord than being married to a pastor.   You single  guys, you gotta be careful, man. There are some women, they want to marry the pastor so they can be the center of power, authority; they can be the first lady; everybody knows them, everybody wants to be their friend, everybody wants to tell them everything; and they can be the center of all the drama. Run for your life. Run for your life. Run for your life. It's Satanic.

See?  I need you women to really search your own heart. Are you Satanic? Is this still part of your flesh, this sick desire in you to know everybody's business? I'm not saying you don't have friends but how much are you on the internet? How much time do you spend emailing? How much time do you spend crying and freaking out and knowing everybody's business and on the phone and having to meet with people because, "Did you know so-and-so did such-and-such and so-and-so is feeling this way and did you--?" Are you the center of LOTS of activity? Why? It's Satanic. It's Satanic. I think I've made my point.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 4: ordinary demonic continued, foolishness and drunkenness
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 2: The Devil


How about this one, foolishness and drunkenness? Do you know that Satan loves to party? Chapter 5, verse 8 of Ephesians, at one time it says "Do not associate with people who are walking with Satan. Therefore do not associate with them (verse 7) for at one time you, too, were darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (You notice light, darkness, God, Satan). It is shameful to even speak what they do in secret, but when anything is exposed by light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says "Awake, O sleeper. Rise up from the dead and Christ while shine on you."(I love the Strike Force song out of those verses) Look carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise but as wise making the best use of the time for the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is, and do not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery but be filled with the Holy Spirit, addressing one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing, making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one anothoer out of reverence for Christ.

Do you know what Satan loves to get people to do? Just walk in darkness; hang out with people who love to sin; do stupid things; and get drunk. It's just bait the hook because what he says is you can't be filled with the Spirit (and the concept there is, as I understand it, os like a ship sets at sail and the wind fills it and compels it forward. So we are to repent of sin and walk in the light and then the Holy Spirit compels us, propels us, toward greater holiness and Christ-likeness). Unrepentant sin, foolishness, getting drunk, is taking down your sail. It's not that you don't have the Holy Spirit, and it's not that He's not at work, it's that you're resisting the Holy Spirit, you're grieving the Holy Spirit, you're quenching the Holy Spirit, all of that New Testament language. And it's telling people: "Look, when you go out partying; when you go out drinking; when you're out doing stupid stuff with your buddies you're putting your sail down." You're dead in the water. You're drifting. You're not making any forward progress with God. That's what Satan wants. You can't be filled with the Spirit and drunk. You can't be led by the Spirit and be participating in darkness. It's ordinary demonic.

Catanzaro agrees to settlement and suspension of his license with a probation, found to have acted unprofessionally in information but did not harm patients

Details in the article.  Say what you will about Catanzaro as a naturopath, he's agreed to a license suspension and a probationary period.

That's more than can be said about either Mark Driscoll or the leadership of Mars Hill that let Driscoll resign his membership rather than face a restoration process. 

MH releases 2014 public disclosure package and projects through June `14 package

Throckmorton spotted the announcement. You have to slog through a short series of links to get to these actual documents and the most recent annual report is the old FY2013.

For now ... here's a summation of numbers that may be food for thought.

You'll probably need to minimize all the drop down menus ar the right for this after the break.
Of course if you're patient and detail-oriented you can go to the docs, though in a lot of ways they don't say a whole ton.

"Lessons" from Breshears misses a couple of steps, one about bloggers netting income by "gossip", another about his contribution to Driscoll's errant use of Targum Neofiti to claim Jews believed in a Trnity before the birth of Christ

Breshears' commentary was, for the most part, a standard-issue Star Wars summary crawl but there was a misstep near the end.

A final lesson is being written as I write. Even as MHCC will discontinue operations in a few weeks, the Mars Hill churches are in process of replanting, many with a lot of continuity of their leadership teams and congregations. Many of those leaders have privately pondered and publicly repented. In a context of vulnerability, trust can be rebuilt and the work of the gospel go on. While bloggers continue to build their income with disparaging gossip, the people hope in the power of gospel centered transformation, hoping in the sense of the confident expectation of good based in the character of the God of Exodus 34:6-7

Bloggers continue to build their income with disparaging gossip?  Which bloggers, exactly?  Wenatchee The Hatchet has never monetized this blog since its birth and is not chomping at the bits with adding advertising.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has also spent quite some time transcribing Driscoll's teaching on the subject of spiritual warfare straight from the multi-hour primary source.  If quoting Mark Driscoll accurately and in context and studiously citing primary sources (whether sermon download, sermon transcript or published works by ISBN number) constitutes "gossip" then Breshears has painted with too broad a brush.

If anything Wenatchee The Hatchet may have at times been more scrupulous about what to claim and how to source it than Gerry Breshears.

After all, at least according to Mark Driscoll in March 2008 in the Doctrine series
God Is
Part 1 of Doctrine
Pastor Mark Driscoll
March 30, 2008
Now, what I want to share with you now is super exciting to me ‘cause I’m a total – I’m kind of a geek. And I really like – I really like the Bible and I like learning things I did not know. And I learned something this week that I did not know. It comes from Dr. Gerry Breshears, who’s a dear friend of mine and my co-author on Vintage Jesus and some other books. He’s the head of theology at Western Seminary in Portland. And what he showed me was – he sent this to me, it’s called the Targum Neofiti. It’s from roughly 200 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. [emphasis added]

Now, let me tell you what a targum is, okay? A targum was an accepted Jewish translation and reading of the Old Testament, okay? And the Jewish scholars would translate, read the Old Testament and they would write them down as accepted targums. Now this targum – again, think is through – is 200 years before the birth of Jesus, more than 200 years before the Christian church in its present form came into existence, 500 years before something we’ll get to call the Council of Nicea where the Christian theologians officially declared the doctrine of the Trinity as true orthodoxy. Hundreds of years prior, here is the Targum Neofiti.

Genesis 1:1-2, it declared, “In the beginning, by the Firstborn” – who’s that? That’s Jesus. That’s the same language we find in the New Testament. Paul says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and he is the firstborn – that’s preeminence. That’s prominence. That’s rulership over all creation. “In the beginning, by the Firstborn” – Jesus – “God” – that’s the Father – “created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” I can show that there were Jews who were waiting for the coming of Jesus Messiah who loved and studied the Bible – 200 years before the coming of Jesus interpreted Genesis 1, the opening line of the Bible, and Genesis 2 to be Trinitarian. That the Father through Jesus Christ, the preeminent firstborn Son, along with the Holy Spirit created everything. Trinitarian.
At the risk of quoting self again.:

To all that the scholars Robert Cargill, Christian Brady, and Scott Bailey could be said to have replied "No", "No" and "Hell no" respective to their usual blogging tones. Brady, in particular, as an Aramaic targum scholar, has been in a good position to point out that Driscoll (and Breshears) claim the rabbinical commentary on Genesis was written in the second centure BCE when it is generally accepted as written in the second century CE.  I.e. 2 centuries BC is four centuries too early for something scholars agree was written in the 2nd century AD, for folks who are old school.  Driscoll opens out the gate misrepresenting (at best) or lying (at worst) when the commentary on Genesis was written. 

Brady closed his friendly post with:

Feel free to offer other comments on the video. For the first time I have actually left comments on a YouTube video because I think this is so egregious. And for those who don’t know me as well and to be open and clear, I do believe in the Trinity, I just abhor bad sermons and errors.  [emphasis mine]

To the extent that Mark Driscoll credited Gerry Breshears with a "discovery" that the Targum Neofiti predated the birth of Christ, and no less than three scholars obliterated the historical and textual claims Driscoll leaned on and credited to getting from Breshears, one of the lessons that may be learned is that one should be cautious about learning lessons about Targums from Gerry Breshears.  In addition to making a claim that bloggers have generated income by blogging "gossip" another claim that Breshears may have an even harder time backing up is that the Targum Neofiti predated Christ. 

To be sure, Breshears' overall overview covers a lot of ground that is confirmed, it's just that the conclusion marred the overall thing, and the overall thing did not sufficiently address a history of Breshears' contributions which did not elevate the doctrinal discourse within the history of MH.  But, as someone put it, it can be much easier to observe the faults of others than our own and that may be why diversity in the body is needed.

Meanwhile, if a blog turns out to be a practical way to preserve what has been said on the record for the record then preserving as large a chunk of the public ministry of Mark Driscoll within the context of Mars Hill seems like an appropriate contribution to the public discourse. Later this week, health and time permitting, a continuation of Driscoll's 2008 spiritual warfare as not just a doctrinal statement but a possible political manifesto within the leadership culture of Mars Hill.  But we'll see how that works out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 3: commentary--if bitterness was so big a part of the ordinary demonic presentation in 2008 did the leaders of MH know how bitter Driscoll was against his wife for so long?
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? ...
This was largely the public story of Mark Driscoll about his relationship to Grace in the first half of the `00s.  There were a few difficult seasons but there was rarely any sense that there was anything seriously, hugely wrong. 

Of course Grace Driscoll describing her husband as a "short-fused drama queen" might have seemed like an indication that there were some things a little off.
March 6, 2008
Thor Tolo

When the Lord isn’t talking to this man, kiddingly called a short-fused drama queen by his wife, his critics are blogging about him. Some of the sharper barbs make it difficult for Driscoll to hide the hurt.
Another hint that maybe things were a bit less than picture perfect came courtesy of Mark Driscoll sharing a story. Driscoll asked Grace who he most resembled in the book of Ruth.  He was probably fishing for a compliment on how like Boaz he was.  Nope.  Grace had a different answer altogether:
[roughly one hour in]

...Elimelech is the guy--everything falls apart. It looks dark, it looks bad. He takes a poll he makes a plan. He decides Moab has a lower cost of living. Moab has more vocational opportunity. Moab has food on the table. I will make a plan, I will be the sovereign. I will take care of everything. Trust me. I know what I'm doing. He leads well. He plans well. He tries to be the sovereign (they're all going to die anyways). I am Elimelech.

I asked my wife, "Which one am I?" ... She didn't even breath, didn't even take a breath, "Oh, you're Elimelech." And his name means what? MY GOD IS KING! That was me. If you asked me, Jesus, sovereign, lord, king, God! And if I ever need Him I'll call him but I don't think I do because I've got all this taken care of.

Now that Mars Hill as a corporation is dying Grace Driscoll's words may have proven remarkably prescient, perhaps? 

Then Real Marriage got published.

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0
PAGE 9-10
Before long I was bitter agaisnt God and Grace. It seemed to me as if they had conspired to trap me. I had always been the "good guy" who turned down women for sex. In my twisted logic, since I had only slept with a couple of women I was in relationships with, I had been holy enough, and God owed me. I felt God had conned me by telling me to marry Grace, and allowed Grace to rule over me since she was controlling our sex life. 

PAGES 14-15
Although I loved our people and my wife, this only added to my bitterness. I had a church filled with single women who were asking me how they could stop being sexually ravenous and wait for a Christian husband; then I'd go home to a wife whom I was not sexually enjoying. 

... We still disagree on how often we had sex (I [Mark Driscoll] was bitter, and she [Grace Driscoll] was in denial, which skews the perspective), but we both agree it wasn't a healthy amount to support a loving marriage.

This is looking like an awful lot of bitterness and if by Mark Driscoll's 2008 account bitterness is a demonic foothold and not enough sex in marriage is a demonic foothold then how demonic was the Driscoll marriage early on?

Even Mark Driscoll's counseling to young couples further fueled his bitterness.  When your attempts at working in a pastoral counseling way simply fuel the bitterness and resentment you feel toward your wife over the sex life you think you deserve wouldn't that fit into what Driscoll described as bitterness being "ordinary demonic?"

If one simply quotes Mark Driscoll accurately and in context both from his 2008 teaching seminar and his 2012 marriage book it becomes difficult to avoid the question of whether, by Mark Driscoll's own teaching, the Driscoll marriage wasn't a hotbed of demonic footholds and whether or not Mark Driscoll's bitterness had over the years escalated to a damaging degree. 

In fact, if one simply compares everything Mark Driscoll had to say about not-enough-sex-in-marriage and bitterness in 2008 to the narrative in Real Marriage and accepts all the statements at face value then one is virtually compelled to conclude that the majority of the Driscoll marriage was characterized by such a level of infrequent sex and bitterness that Mark Driscoll, by his own metrics, had a mountain range of demonic footholds.

It's worth asking in light of Driscoll's teaching on bitterness as demonic in 2008 and on his bitterness at a lack of sex in marriage whether this was a problem that could be remedied by reverse-engineering his life with advice from Jon Phelps.  Hadn't Driscoll by his own account gotten bored with MH and blowing everything up to introduce "strategic chaos" back around 2001-2002?  Yep.  So it's possible that a good deal of chaos Driscoll saw in his life was chaos he deliberately created ... excepting the lack of sex ... and a question Phelps in particular must some day be able to answer is why Driscoll was worth investing so much in if by Driscoll's teaching and life disconnect a person could ask whether or not Driscoll's demonic footholds were leading in such a chaotic direction.

The level of bitterness Driscoll seemed to say he had against Grace in the earlier years didn't sound like a small thing. What level of bitterness on the part of a pastor over a lack of sex crosses a nebulous threshold into "not qualified for ministry"?  In the case of "not enough sex in marriage" this could have been something where maybe Grace was single-handedly capable of disqualifying her husband by not putting out enough regardless of Mark Driscoll's response, since it's possible in Driscoll's system that the husband (or the wife) could unilaterally decide how little sex was too little.

If the Board of Overseers somehow imagines that Mark's sin issues have not constituted sin enough to question his qualifications for ministry let's at least consider the possibility that Mark Driscoll's cumulative testimony may be testimony against himself. 

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 3: actually getting to the bitterness part
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 2: The Devil

Verse 26, "be angry", Ephesians 4, "and do not sin.  Be angry but don't sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger (don't feed it and let it fester), and give no opportunity to the devil. Again, this is demonic. "Let the thief no longer steal but rather let him labor doing honest work with his own hands so that he may have something to share with those in need. (Put off a sinful habit, put on a worshipful habit) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths but only as is good for building up as fits the occasion and may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who you were sealed for the day of redemption. (and here's the key). Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamorous slander but put away from you along with all malice."

This is a demonic passage. It starts with bitterness. You know that bitterness is a demonic foothold. The analogy here is to give the enemy no opportunity, no foothold (how does he say it here?) no opportunity to the devil. The analogy here is, some of your translations will say 'foothold', you think about it like a rock climber. Sheer wall. Says, "There's no way I can make it." All they need is a foothold. It's all they need. One foothold, now we're going. Another foothold, it doesn't take much, it just takes the right footholds for a rock climber to scale to whole new heights. Satan is like that. he's looking at you, he's looking at your life. He's saying, "Okay, where's the foothold? Where, where can I climb in your life and create more devastation and destruction?" What he's saying here is that bitterness is a foothold.

Now let me explain bitterness. I think probably half the counseling I've ever done includes bitterness. If I sin against you do I feel guilty and convicted or bitter? What do I feel? Do I feel guilty and convicted or bitter if I sin against you? I feel guilty and convicted. What about if you sin against me? Do I feel guilty and convicted or do I feel bitter? Bitter so bitterness, by definition, is a possession of the offended not the offender. That's why bitter people have a hard time seeing their bitterness. You say, "you're bitter." [Answer] "Of course I'm bitter. Do you know what they did to me?" Ah, keep working on this.

Bitterness happens in one of three ways: you sin against me, I don't forgive you, I'm bitter. 2. I THINK you sinned against me and I don't forgive you and I'm bitter.

How many of you have had somebody bitter against you, you didn't even do anything, they THOUGHT you did something. I mean this happens all the time. You meet with someone [who says], "I'm very angry with you."
"Okay, why?"
"Cuz you said this and you did this."
"No, I didn't." 
"Well that's what I THOUGHT you said."
"That's not what I said. I said this."
"How long have you been like this?"

Well, maybe days, weeks, months, years, decades. This whole time you've been carrying it around, you know what, it's not even true. You're wrong but the hurt was real because you perceived wrongly, you heard wrongly.  This is why gossip, third-party innuendo, ah, email, right? All these ways of communicating are sometimes less than ideal.

So, I become bitter (use myself as an example) if you sin against me or I THINK you sinned against me and, thirdly, James speaks of bitter envy and selfish ambition. I'm bitter because I'm jealous. You have something I want. You do something I want to do. I'm jealous. I'm, and bitterness is jealousy. Guys who want to be elders, you tell them "No, you're not qualified" they get bitter. Say "Why do they hate you so much?" Because I told them "no". Why? Well they're jealous. They want to be elders or they wanto to be deacons or they want to be staff or they want to be leaders or they want things put together the way THEY want, they want the doctrine THEY want, they want the organizational structure THEY want, they want the ministries THEY want, they want the music THEY want, and you're not giving them the power and authority to do so and they're JEALOUS because you have the right to make those decisions and they don't. Bitterness comes out of jealousy and selfish ambition. You have power, money, control, access (whatever the economy is) and selfish ambition says, "I want that for me." This is the root of all kinds of bitter conflict in the church: you sin against me, I think you sind against me, or you're jealous and have selfish ambition. Bitter envy and selfish ambition, Jesus' brother James calls it.

Now what happens is, Hebrews says we need to dig up the root of bitterness. Bitterness goes deep down into the heart and into the soul and into the church.  And he uses the analogy of a root. We need to dig up the root of bitterness otherwisse it will grow up, he says in Hebrews, and defile many. How many of you have, you know, tried to mow away the weeds in your yard? [chuckles]  Say, "okay, I got `em all."

And then two days later, no you didn't. Unless you get the root you really don't change anything. It's just a matter of time. Bitterness needs to be dug up by the root otherwise it grows up and defiles many. It leads to gossip and slander and malice. We'll get into those kinds of issues. People start talking and discussing and infiltrating and other bitter people find them and next thing you know, well, you know.

So anyways, the way bitterness works, as well, is bitter people are prone to blame their bitterness on the person that they perceive offended them. Amy Carmichael. she's a missionary, her little book If, she gives this great analogy she says:

If I have a glass filled with sweet water and I bump it, what comes out? Sweet water. She says if I have a glass of bitter water and I bump it, what comes out?  Bitter water.

All that sin against us, perceived sin against us, or bitter envy and selfish ambition by us reveal is what's already in our heart. The bitterness is IN there, and someone or some thing spilled it. And bitter people will say, "Look what you made me do. You made me sin, you made me gossip, you made me angry, you made me bitter, you made me fight, you made me run into conflict, you made me sin in my anger. Look what you made me do." And the answer is, "I didn't make you do anything. That was what was in your heart." I just bumped you. I just bumped you. The bitterness was in you. No one puts bitterness in us. When they bump us they expose it. But bitter people love to blame others for their bitterness.

How do you know you're bitter?  Well, bitter people are archaeologists, quite frankly. They can talk about the past in excruciating detail. Some of you are married to bitter people and every time they don't get what they want, their feelings are hurt, you know you're going to hear THAT story again. "Well, on March 3, 1987 at 12 in the afternoon you were wearing that blue shirt that I hated. You looked at me and you said" and they quote you verbatim. You're like, "How do you remember that?" Because bitter people replay past events over and over and over. They become obsessive.  G. K. Chesteron says the madman is not the one who doesn't understand things, the madman is the man who only thinks about one thing. It's obsession.

There are days of your life you don't even remember. There's years of your life you don't even remember. Second grade, you're like, "I don't know. It was second grade." But there are days that marked you and you remember and you replay them continually. Some will diagnose it as post-traumatic stress disorder, that you keep reliving a past event as if it were present, having the same physiological/emotional responses to it. It's like it's happening right now and it may be far in the past.

The people that we are most inclined to be bitter against are those that we give access to our heart. You are not very likely to get bitter against a complete stranger. Say somebody you've never met steals your car. You'll be frustrated, maybe angry, but not bitter because it doesn't feel personal. Now someone you KNOW; someone you love; someone you've given time or energy to, this is really not just for the counselee I think this is really important for the counselor. The person that you've met with for a while, you've prayed for, you've invested in, you've shed tears over, you've spoken truth into their life, you've served them. Those are the kind of people you're most likely to be bitter against because you expect something from them and when they fail to deliver you're disappointed and there's hurt. That means you're most likely to be bitter against your parents, your spouse, your friends, pastor, spiritual leader, deacon, community group leader, biblical counselor, coach, teacher, God. Your own children? Yep, and God.

Can you think of anybody in the Bible who was bitter against God? Naomi. Her name meant "sweet". She says: "Change my name to Mara, which means `bitter' because the Lord has made me very bitter." She blamed it on God. "God made me bitter. He put bitter water in my cup." No, He didn't. You put bitter water in your cup and then He bumped you and out it spilled. Now, as I preached in Ruth, Naomi confessed it and ran to God's people for help. That's what bitter people need to do. I'm bitter, I gotta go to God's people. I gotta get to a community group, I gotta get in a Redemption Group, I gotta go meet with a biblical counselor, I gotta go to God's people to get this figured out.

Now in saying that bitterness is demonic Paul is telling us that, again, this is how the enemy gets a foothold. If you think about it, how many people do you know that really are bitter? How many of you really are bitter [short pause] against someone, perhaps even God? Here's what Paul says if we don't dig up the root of bitterness occurs. Satan gets a handhold, a foothold, next thing you know it gets worse and worse and worse.

Verse 31, chapter 4 Ephesians, let all bitterness, right? That's, that's choosing "I'm not going to forgive you. I'm NOT going to forgive you." And wrath, this is where you're getting angry. You're getting mad, you're getting hot. It's getting personal. You're reliving it, you're thinking about what you'll say and what you'll do and how they did evil against you. That's where you start to obsess.

And anger. This is where officially you're furious. You're frustrated. You're unhappy. The bitterness is welling up and now, and now you're going to do something. And clamor, this is now where you're fighting with someone. You send a nasty email [chuckle], you leave the nasty voicemail, you cuss them out, you say something, you do something, you initiate conflict, "You hurt me now I'm gonna hurt you."

And slander, meaning, "Now I'm gonna talk to other people. I'm gonna tell `em what you did. I'm going to tell them how I feel. I'm gonna, I'm gonna have them join my cause. We're gonna get you, we're gonna pay you back. We're gonna make you hurt. I bet there's other people you've said things about. I bet there's other people that you've hurt their feelings. I'm gonna find them. I'm gonna have them sympathize with me and we're going to oppose you." Just so you know, this is my life that's why I speak it with such clarity. 

Put those away from you, he says, along with every form of malice. Malice is where bitterness is not dealt with, it runs its life cycle, and malice (some of your translations will say) "every form or kind of evil". That's where you start inventing ways to get them. This is where you are in a lose-lose scenario, like: "I don't care if I lose, I don't care if I look bad, I don't care if I do evil, I just wanna get them. I willing to lose if they lose." It's lose-lose.  That's every form of malice.

And then people start coming up with, you say "How in the world ... why did you do that?"  Well, because in Proverbs sin is also described as foolishness or folly. Bitter people are kind of crazy. This is the crazy girlfriend who slashes tires, this is the bizzare boyfriend who starts physically restraining his girlfriend in the house telling her she can never leave or he'll kill her. This is all kinds of malice. This is the person who runs off and has sex with her spouse's best friend not because they even like them but just to get them back to dig on them. I mean this gets really ugly.

I've seen it where this is the husband who is sitting at home watching pornography. His wife walks in, he doesn't even turn it off. She asks, "What are you doing?" [and he replies] "I'm watching attractive women." I had this counseling appointment with one guy. The wife says "I can't believe you're doing that." He's like: "Could you shut up? I can't hear the porn." That's malice. That's malice. Malice is dark. Malice is evil. Malice is "I'm gonna give a lot of time, maybe even energy, maybe even money to hurt you. That's what I'm doing."

Now where does this all start? Where does this whole demonic cycle start? Bitterness. How many of you coming in here wouldn't have assumed that bitterness was a demonic scheme? Again 2 Corinthians 2:11, Satan won't outwit us if we know his schemes. Some of them, you know, God convicts them of sin but Satan hangs bitterness on the hook. Be bitter, bite. Okay. Great.  This is gonna get ugly. It's gonna get worse. 
If you fail to repent of bitterness it escalates until there's all kinds of malice. All kinds of malice.

So how do you deal with bitterness? Well, verse 32 he tells us the Gospel of Jesus is how we deal with bitterness. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. He says, "You know what? We've all sinned against God." God's very angry about our sin but God also sent His son the Lord Jesus Christ, and our sin was placed upon Jesus, and the wrath of God was propitiated (that's the word the New Testament uses four times), the wrath of God was taken from us by Jesus' death in our place for our sin. The result is, today,  for those who are in Jesus, God is kind and tender-hearted and loving and merciful and compassionate with us and aren't you glad that God isn't bitter against you? Can you imagine what life would be like if God decided "I'm just going to be bitter against you"? "I'm gonna have rage and anger and slander and every form of malice" If God decided, "I'm gonna tell everybody you ever, everything you ever thought or done that's wrong, and I'm gonna make it my life's ambition to destroy you. And I'm gonna invent creative sadistic ways of making you pay"?  Imagine what life would be like if ours was a bitter god? It's terrifying.

about 45:00
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.

How many of you are bitter against people? There are certain people, you don't want to see them. There are certain people you can't even talk to them, you can't look at them, you avoid them, you can't even talk ABOUT them.  If someone asks, "Hey, have you seen so-and-so?" because they're unaware of your bitterness, it just comes at you like, "You know, that son of a--you know what they did? You know what they said?--"  All of a sudden the anger rises up and leads you into sin and all kinds of gossip and slander and sin.

Bitterness is demonic.  That's why Hebrews says pull up the root of bitterness before it grows up and defiles the whole church. Everybody gets infected by it. It's an epidemic. It's an epidemic. That's why whole churches and religious groups and movements sometimes define themselves by what they're against. We are against this. We're against this. We're against this and all the bitter people show up and say, "I hate what you hate." We're to hate what God hates and to love what God loves, and ultimately we're to build our unity around the love of Jesus not just the opposition for all of the people and things that have embittered us. Does that make sense?

The ordinary demonic.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 1: commentary--on Driscoll's ethos of anger as a precedent in Mars Hill biblical counseling

While we could proceed to the rest of the bitterness teaching immediately there's something noteworthy in Driscoll taking so much time to explain how necessary it was for counseling pastors to get angry.
Part 20 of Nehemiah
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Nehemiah 13:1-14
September 16, 2007

... And here’s the bell we’re gonna ring all night”, Verse 8. “And I was very angry (Laughter)” I love that. [It's my life verse.] It’s awesome. You say, “What’s angry mean in Hebrew?” Angry. He’s very angry. He was angry in Chapter 5 too where the rich were exploiting the poor. He says, “I was very angry about that.” Here’s a dude, gets angry. “I was very angry.” We’re gonna talk about this a lot (Laughter). “And I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber.” It’s like if you go to the temple to worship, you’re like, “Lord, I’m here.” And all of a sudden you’re like “What’s all that stuff flying out of the temple (Laughter)? There goes a flat screen TV and a computer and a – you know, a chair and a couch and a copy of the Koran. There’s just stuff flying out of the temple (Laughter). “Then I gave orders.” Not suggestions  or recommendations. Orders. “And they cleansed the chamber, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of our God with a grain offering and the frankincense.”

That red-letter passage in the bracket, that's from the sermon but it wasn't kept in the sermon transcript even though it was said from the stage.  If you'd like to go to a place that preserves the original statement ...

Driscoll had evidently concluded at a number of points that anger and getting very angry were, well, awesome.  He also went so far in the 2008 session on spiritual warfare to tell potential counselors within Mars Hill that if they DIDN'T get angry there was something seriously wrong with them.

Keep in mind Driscoll was invited to speak on these subjects by the biblical living department team that was not able to actually attend the event. 

There's relatively little to say at the moment on this beyond noting the potential consequences of Driscoll insisting to all MH leadership that there was a problem of everyone being too lenient and extending grace to people who didn't deserve it and avoiding getting angry at counselees.  This might have been theoretically offset by what was to come next ... .

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 1: Bitterness begins but first becomes a long explanation of how if you don't get angry in counseling something's seriously wrong with you
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 2: The Devil

Another way that Satan works is through bitterness. Ephesians 4. Let's camp on this. I use this often. I think it's a very importand doctrine that is, lately, undertaught. I'll spend a lot of time on this, maybe ten or fifteen minutes.

Ephesians 4:17-32. Most people don't really think that bitterness is demonic. It's ORDINARY demonic, okay, well I'll talk about extraordinary demonic where it's obvious. Ordinary demonic is more effective because it's more subtle. Again 2 Corinthians 2:11, I'll keep
bringing it back to that text. Satan won't outwit us if we know his schemes, if we understand his tactics. One of his tactics is bitterness.

Ephesiand 4:17, "Now this I say, and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to their hardness of heart. (they have an old heart).  They have become callous and given themselves up (alright, here's the flesh): sensuality, greed, to practice every kind of impurity but that is not the way you learned Christ, assuming you have heard about him and were taught him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (just all flesh and worldliness) and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind (regenerated heart, new mind through the power of the Holy Spirit) and to put on the new self (you're a new person now, you belong to Jesus) created after the likeness of God (`kay, to be holy, like Jesus and to
out of the Imago Dei God made you in) in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore having put away all falsehood (because falsehood is evil, it's not truthfulness), let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor for we are members of one body."

Here's the key: "Be angry and do not sin."

It's okay to be angry but you shouldn't let your anger lead you to sin. God gets angry. Angry is a perfectly good, health emotion. Too many Christians have a wrong impression that anger is a bad thing. Anger is the right response to sin. If someone molests a child you should be angry. If a man rapes a woman you should be angry. If a woman commits adultery on her husband you should be angry. If someone teaches false doctrine and leads people astray you should be angry.

It's not okay to be indifferent. God is a jealous God. God is an angry God. God is an avenging God. The wrath of God is spoken of, in the Old and New Testaments combined, more than 600 times.  In sheer tonnage, the wrath of God appears more frequently than the love of God in the Bible. If you're counseling people and you never get angry there's something wrong with you. [pause] There's something wrong with you.
Now don't let your anger lead you into sin but anger can be a great motivation to DO something that is just and beautiful and good.

I can tell you a story, I'll tell you counseling stories. [I'm] meeting with a guy who's cheating on his wife. He was afraid he had a venereal disease because he's a total pervert and committed adultery on her countless times with women he didn't even know. And he looks at me and, somehow, he thought our meeting was like I'm a Catholic priest and he comes in and gives me his confession and then I tell him he's fine and he can go home. I don't know how he got this impression. He said, "Well, I feel good. I got that off my chest." I said: "No, no, no, no, no. We gotta tell your wife. We gotta tell your wife. You gotta get a disease test. You gotta tell your wife. She shouldn't touch you. You need help. You probably need treatment, I mean, you're outta control. You're, you're"  He's like, "No, no ... I thought we, I thought we had confidentiality." [I said,] "I don't, no, I don't believe in confidentiality. [audience laughs] I believe in Jesus and walking in the light."

And he said, "Oh, well you can't tell her."  I said, "Okay, then you can. Those are your two options. You tell her or I tell her. One way or another she's gonna know." He said, "Well, I don't think that's right. I'm gonna sue you." [I said,] "Sure, cool, that's great. Fine.  I have a huge insurance policy. I love free advertising, it'll be in the paper. This'll be great.  I don't care." This guy looks me and he says, "You're going to ruin everything." 

"I'm going to ruin everything? You've ruined everything."
"Well, she doesn't know. Everything's fine."
"No, everything's not fine. You're an adulterer whoring around on your wife. You may have a veneral disease and you're going to take it home and give it to her? Everything's not fine."

The more I talked to this guy, literally, I wanna ... I wanna ... you know ... assault him is what I wanna do. Because, the whole time, he then goes into, "Okay, okay, okay. I'll make a big donation to the church." [chuckles] No ... you think I can be bought. I mean, like, I started angry and now it's at whole `nother level.  I'm thinking of, "Okay, where can I put the body?  I've seen CSI. I know I gotta put it in a safe place they'll never find it. Let me--" this is where I'm going in my mind.

And I look at this guy and I cannot believe, "You want to commit adultery on your wife; maybe give her a venereal disease; and pay me hush money through a tax-deductible charitable donation?" [pause] If you don't feel angry there's something totally wrong with you. There are people you will deal with that they will have worldly sorrow, like Paul says to the Corinthians, or mere confession.  They'll tell you what they've done but they don't feel bad about it and they're not wanting to repent of it and they don't want to go and sin no more. They just want to get it off their chest and if you don't feel angry about it there, there's something wrong with you. Something's totally wrong with you.

I remember one guy I'm meeting with--it's always (sometime's it's women, too).  I was meeting with a guy, though, he says, "You know, I've committed adultery but I think it's the best thing that's ever happened to our marriage cuz I was totally dissatisfied with my wife, but now that I get my sexual needs met elsewhere I'm really able to come home and not be angry with her." I said, "Really? That's an interesting book title, Adultery saved my Marriage. That's very interesting." And this guy claims to be a Christian, knows all the verses. I said, "Dude, one of the ten commandments is `thou shall not commit adultery'." He said, "Yeah, and most of the time I totally believe that." If you don't get angry there's something wrong with you. There's something totally wrong with you.

Early on, I remember meeting with a guy. He comes in and there just seems something funky with the guy, something fishy. Because he wanted to be involved in ministry and wanted to be a leader and da-di-da-di-da. I asked him, "Dude, seriously, is there anything about you that, if I knew, I would just totally freak out?" I just start asking people, "What's the worst thing you've ever done?" That's one of my favorite questions. What's the worst thing you've ever done. Don't lie to me. This guy says, "No ... I'm good." I said, "You're older, you're single." Not that everybody who's older and single is weird but this guy was REALLY weird. Just, he was peculiar. There was something funky about him. Older single guy, always hanging around kids, always hanging around the nursery ... and just the way he carried himself.  As a dad, gift of discernment guy, there's something really amiss here.

THIS guy was dating a woman who was a single mother and bathing with her son. Grown man in a bathtub with a boy who's not his son.  He tells me this. If you don't feel angry, what do YOU do when a peculiar grown man in a bathtub with a little boy of a girl you're dating? If you don't feel angry there's something wrong. Let me give you permission to be angry. Let me give you to even tell people when you're meeting with them, "You know what? That makes God very angry. That makes ME very angry."  Some say, oh, you shouldn't be angry. No, you MUST be angry but don't let your anger lead you into sin. Don't cuss `em out. Don't hit `em. You know, don't lose it, but that anger can be a good motivational force to say, "I need to do something." For me with that one guy it was: "I need to call his wife and tell her the truth. Do not touch that guy. Go get a disease test. He needs professional help. He's out of control." With this other guy it's calling the woman and saying "You know when you go to the store and your boyfriend babysits your son they're in the bathtub together. Do you know that?" It's anger that compels you to justice, not toward additional sin. But you've got to be careful because, again, the flesh can rise up with the anger.