Monday, May 10, 2021

Julie Roys has coverage of a new report about Mark Driscoll's The Trinity Church, on-site surveillance and dealing with members--revisiting Mars Hill era claims from Driscoll to "see things" and to be able to pray that God would kill sinners for him as background for his leadership approaches

So many years after the demise of Mars Hill I was hoping this range of topics could have been fully retired from Wenatchee The Hatchet but things just keep happening:

Trinity’s former head of security, Chad Freese, a cybersecurity expert and a former Marine, said Trinity hired a private investigator to surveille the Manuele family 24/7. He says teams, including pastors, tracked the Manueles as they went to local shops and businesses—even their own neighborhood. [emphasis added]


According to Freese and other former staff and volunteers at the church, what happened to the Manueles is the tip of the iceberg.


They say the church has an army of security to protect not just the church, but the entire Driscoll family, who are treated like “royalty.”


Freese said there’s nowhere on Trinity’s campus where people are not being audio- and video-recorded. [emphasis added] And to serve as a volunteer, one must sign a non-disclosure agreement pledging “to protect the confidentiality of all information” about the church’s “business operations, staff, volunteers and guests.”


The church also maintains a BOLO list (Be On The Lookout), Freese said, with names, pictures, and sometimes personal vehicles of people the church has banned from its property. The list contains one VIP—Randal Taylor, a man from out of state who allegedly provides “wise counsel” for Trinity.


For those who don’t remember the following claim made by Mark Driscoll in early 2008 here’s a blast from the past where Driscoll described what he regarded as 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. [emphasis added] And one of my great concerns is not just, "Can you hold hands and help sheep?" but "can you also flip the staff over and defend against a wolf?"  You HAVE to have that discernment, that courage, and that ability to tell someone: "You are in sin. That is false doctrine.  You are not qualified to be a leader. If you do not repent you are not welcome here. And I will speak truthfully to those who want to follow you because my job is for the well-being of the sheep." 

So Driscoll declared that it was a demonic lie to suspect the executive elders of Mars Hill didn’t love people and as for objecting to the newly ratified bylaws of Mars Hill Church because they consolidated too much formal power into a small team of leaders?  That was a fire-able offense that led to kangaroo court trials for former Mars Hill elders Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, along with a shunning edict.  That was chronicled at great length at Joyful Exiles. 

But what is important for people who do not know the history of Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill is that, besides labeling those who had doubts about the love his executive elders (including himself) had for the people of Mars Hill, it was in the 2008 spiritual warfare teaching seminar he gave in the wake of the terminations and trials of Petry and Meyer that Mark Driscoll made one of his more notorious claims:

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes your counselee, they will see things. I found this with people, I'm, okay,-like, "I'm gonna ask the demon questions, you tell me what they say."  They don't say anything. I say, "What do you hear?" and they say, "Nothing, but I'm seeing stuff." "What, oh, oh. What's that?"

"I'm seeing, you know, when I was little, my grandpa molested me. I didn't know that."
I said, "Well, let's not assume it's true. Go ask your grandpa." Grandpa says, "Yeah [slowly], when you were little I molested you." Grandpa was assuming they'd be too young to remember so he'd only molest grandkids up until a certain age. But they saw it. Supernatural. It's a whole other realm. It's like the Matrix. You can take the blue pill. You can take the red pill.  You can go into this whole other world and that's the way it works.

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

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

I've seen children dedicated in occult groups, and demons come upon them as an infant by invitation and I wasn't present for any of it but I've seen it, visibly.

Upon occasion when I get up to preach I see, just like a [makes "whif" sound] screen in front of me, I'll see somebody get raped or abused and I'll track `em down and say, "Look, I had this vision, let me tell you about it." All true.  One I had, I was sitting in my office at the old Earl building.  This gal walks by, nice gal, member of the church. This was when the church was small.  And there just like a TV was there and I saw the night before her husband threw her up against the wall, had her by the throat, was physically violent with her and she said, "That's it. I'm telling the pastor." And he said, "If you do, I'll kill you." He was a very physically abusive man. She was walking by and I just saw it. Just like a TV.
  [emphasis added] I said, "Hey! come here for a sec. ... Last night did your husband throw you against the wall and have you by the throat, physically assault you and tell you if you told anyone he would kill you?" She just starts bawling. She says, "How did you know?" I said, "Jesus told me." I call the guy on the phone, "Hey, I need you to come to the office." Didn't give him any clue. [He] comes in. I said, "What did you do to your wife last night?  Why'd you this? Why'd you throw her against the wall?" And he gets very angry, they're sitting on the couch, he says, "Why did you tell him?"  I said, "She didn't, Jesus did." Jesus did.

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

For the record, I had to listen to all four odd hours of that material as part of a Theology Response Team on which I was a volunteer.  I’m ex-Pentecostal for a variety of reasons and Driscoll’s four-part marathon on spiritual warfare in early 2008 reminded me of a lot of those reasons.  Hearing that ramble for hours on demonization and demons as defined by Driscoll was one of the reasons I didn’t renew my membership and, eventually, ramped up blogging about Driscoll’s teaching.  Here was a guy claiming “I see things” in the wake of kangaroo court disciplinary actions against elders who objected to a consolidation of power around Driscoll and a handful of men. 

It gets worse, I’m afraid, because Driscoll had earlier preached something in 2005 that should be kept in mind as context for his more infamous 2008 claim:


Part 37 of Genesis
Pastor Mark Driscoll | Genesis 38 | June 26, 2005

“Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.” We’re gonna deal with her. She is gonna be a very important story. “But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight;” – so God smoked him – “Put him to death.” What does that mean in Hebrew? He killed him. Metaphor – he killed him literally – metaphysically challenged. The guy is dead, okay. Oh, that’s troubling. That’s the point. Stop whatever you’re doing. He’s gonna kill you. That’s the point. I know some of you have this wrong view of God as a big sky fairy, lavender tights, lemon yellow half shirt, herbal tea. I know you say, “We love that fairy, Jesus, that hippie Christ. We love that guy.” 


Look, that’s the god up on Broadway today for the parade. This is the real God, all right. This is the real God. This God gets ticked, and he kills people. And some of you say, “Oh, but that’s the Old Testament – his junior high years. He was immature and emotional. And now we have the New Testament God, and he’s all grown up now.” God kills people in the New Testament too.

I’ll give you two places you can look when you go home, Acts 5, Ananias and Saphira. A married couple go into church. They withhold part of their tithe, and God kills them in the church, right? And it says, “Great fear sees the whole church.” Offering went through the roof. They made budget. It was amazing. People are like, “Put the keys in there, Martha, and the credit cards and whatever. Here, put these shoes in – whatever he wants. He seems to be in a mood today.”


The other is in 1 Corinthians 11 where it says people are taking communion without repenting of sin, so they die in the church. Can you imagine that? You’re coming up for communion, you and your girlfriend who woke up together this morning to come to Mars Hill. And the two of you are walking down the aisle, and you’re like stepping over all your drinking buddies, like, “Who am I?” “What happened?” “They didn’t repent.” Like, “Oh, well, let’s go back to our seat then.” You know, this is – he kills people. He does. He kills them. He gets sick of them. He gets sick of them and says, “You keep sinning. You won’t stop. I’ll stop you. You’re dead.”


Okay, this guy’s about 18 years of age. He’s done. He just got out of high school. He was getting ready to go to Cancun, you know, for his big graduation party. This guy was just gonna go to college; just joined his frat; 18 year old kid – done. He’s thinking, “Oh, you only live once. You’re young. Have fun. Have a good,” – dead.


Okay, now some of you, this bothers you because you’re evil and it scares you. I understand. It’s supposed to. The scary parts are to scare you. It’s crazy how that goes together. You’re supposed to look at it and go, “He kills evil people. I’m an evil person. Oh, no.” That’s the point – supposed to scare you into repentance, go straight. [10:42] Now God still does this. This will sound terrible in addition to many other things I will say. But I still believe that God kills people, and sometimes I pray for it.


I’ll give you an example – and I don’t. High mercy counseling – a gift. I know. If I wasn’t doing this, I’d definitely be in the counseling. So, I’m meeting with this high school kid a few years ago. His mom and dad were Christians. He and his brother were Christians. They went overseas for many years into a foreign culture to preach the Gospel and start and church and have people meet Jesus. And they were there for many years.


Well, the whole time, his dad was having this escalating online sexual relationship with another man here in the United States. And next thing you know it, dad doesn’t say anything to his boys or the mom or to the church or to the ministry – nothing. He just secretly empties the bank account, gets on an airplane, flies to the United States to go be with his gay lover. I think it was in New York City. And then sends a letter or an email or something back to the family saying, “Good luck.” And the boys get it. They’re like, “What happened to dad?” “What? Dad left the family. Dad’s in New York. Dad emptied the bank account. Oh, I thought we belonged to Jesus.”


Now they had a hard time leaving the country. They’re flat broke. They’re totally shocked. The family’s destroyed. All the new converts are wondering is Jesus really God? Does he really change lives? Everything’s thrown into mayhem. I’m meeting with the teenage kid, and he says, “What is all this?” He says, “You know, it’s got me doubting whether or not God pays attention anymore, God cares. We get all these people. They’re getting ready to deny their faith. We’re flat broke. My mom’s heartbroken. My dad’s got all the money, living life, doing what he wants.” He said, “Where’s God in all of this?” [12:21] I said, “Well, here, let’s do this. Let’s pray that he either repents or God kills him – your dad.” 


So, we prayed together. I prayed mostly. And I said, “Okay, here’s the deal. Let’s pray that he either repents, and if he’s never gonna repent, then God will just kill him.” So, we prayed. He says, “Okay, now we’ll see what happens.” About a week later, dad dies of an instantaneous massive heart attack. No history of heart disease in his family. He’s in good health. No seeming cause or trigger. His heart literally exploded in his chest cavity. He died instantaneously.
 [emphasis added] Now all of a sudden all those people go, “Oh, yeah, God does deal with sin.” So the mission gets saved. The churches get saved. You know, everything gets preserved.


You know what? Some people will never change. Not everybody’s going to heaven. Not everybody lives happily ever after. Not everybody makes a turn for the better. Some people just keep going. And God knows their heart, and with certain people, he looks at them and says, “That’s it. You’re only getting worse. You’re never gonna get better. You’re dead. I’m killing you. It’s over.”


Some of you need to realize that it is a terrifying thing, the Bible says, to fall into the hands of the living God. When you’re dealing with a holy, righteous, just God, and you’re just absolutely defying him repeatedly and mocking him, there does come a point with many people where he’s just done because sin leads to death. And if you keep sinning, you’ll either die in your sin, or he’ll kill you for your sin. But one way or another, you’ll die.

So in Driscoll's account, he prayed that a man he regarded as being in unrepentant sin would either be brought to repentance or that God would kill the man.  Lo and behold, Driscoll claimed that the man died.  We're never told who the man actually was and so we can't be sure the man even existed or was potentially a composite.  By now we've established that Mark Driscoll, particularly in the 2013-2014 period, was capable of directly contradicting himself at any number of points about events and details.  

When the account of Driscoll praying for a man’s death was recycled in Death by Love it may have been considerably more fuzzy than what was recounted in the sermon above, rather undetailed though even that narrative was.

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

 pages 129-130

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

While we can't make a definitive connection of this timely death to the wrath of God, it is in keeping with what we see in instances like Genesis 38 where God kills the two sons of Judah because of their wickedness. 

So back in the Mars Hill years Driscoll claimed that he could pray that an unrepentant sinner would be slain by God and that God answered his prayer; he said of himself “I see things” after declaring that there was a demonic lie afoot within Mars Hill Church to the effect that people doubted whether or not he and the other executive elders at Mars Hill loved the congregation(s) of the church.  

So … with all that in mind, if Mark Driscoll in 2021 was the same guy who said in 2008 “I see things” why didn’t he “see” that using Result Source to secure a No. 1 spot for Real Marriage on the New York Times bestseller list might have been a disastrously bad idea on principle, let alone if it became the focus of national journalistic coverage? 

When I finally got to this passage in Julie Roys’ reporting:

Despite the warning and advice, Vince said he and Driscoll’s daughter did kiss—and somehow, Driscoll found out.


But if Driscoll was given the divine super power of “I see things” why would there, per Chad Freese’s account to Julie Roys, have been nowhere in The Trinity Church without audio and video surveillance? Shouldn’t Driscoll’s divinely given powers of “discernment” obviate any need for having audio and video surveillance throughout The Trinity Church?  If Driscoll actually has “discernment” from God. and can pray that unrepentant sinners get slain and God slays. them what does he even need a security division for?  Let the prophet, priest who is also king explain that one when he has some time.  


As an important clarification, Julie Roys reported that Driscoll commented about “a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus”.  Those statements were made October 1, 2007.
The material was published in 2012, yes, but the material went back to 2007.

Warren Throckmorton has also been keeping tabs on coverage.


Okay, so with this kind of stuff coming to light the series I was thinking of doing on Win Your War may have to happen. Mark Driscoll, as I have already demonstrated, has a history of rolling out spiritual warfare teaching as a way to literally and figuratively demonize dissent against things he wanted to do back in his Mars Hill era. When Win Your War came out I wondered whether some kind of comparable lockdown of information and shunning combination of policies was being put in effect.  Initial testimonies coming to light now suggests that that hunch was correct, after all.


Someone at Julie Roys' site commented that Mark Driscoll is one of the signers of the following "prophetic standards" document issued in light of the failure of prophets who claimed Trump won the 2020 election.  

Consider a sampling of the statement:

WE BELIEVE that all spiritual leaders, including those serving as prophetic ministers, should be vetted and qualified by their respective churches, networks, or movements based on the standards of leadership set forth by Paul the apostle as found in 1 Timothy 3:1-8; Titus 1:5-9.
WE BELIEVE that all spiritual leaders, including five-fold ministry prophets, should be above reproach and should live a life worthy of their calling (see Eph. 4:1-3). Consequently, we believe that prophetic leaders whose lives violate the moral and ethical standards of the Word disqualify themselves from the ministry irrespective of how much influence or anointing they have.
WE ALSO AGREE that the greatest requirement for all leaders in the church, including prophetic leaders, is to endeavor to reflect the character of Christ and to utilize their gifts out of love for God, His people, and the lost (1 Cor. 13:2; Rom. 8:29).
WE BELIEVE it is essential that all spiritual leaders, including prophetic leaders, have a presbytery of peers and seasoned spiritual leaders who can hold them accountable regarding their life and ministry. In keeping with this, we reject the notion that to judge a prophet’s words is a violation of Psalm 105:15 (where God exhorted the ancient nations not to touch the patriarchs or harm His prophets). Prophets who err must be willing to receive correction from peer leaders with whom they are in accountable relationship. Those refusing such accountability should not be welcomed for ministry.
WE REJECT any threatening words from prophets today, warning their followers that judgment will fall on them if they fail to obey the prophet’s words. We see this as a dangerous form of spiritual manipulation. 

Among the list of signatories is:

Mark Driscoll Founder/Senior Pastor, The Trinity Church; Founder, Real Faith Ministry

Given the circumstances under which Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Church, discussed at some length in the following series; given the Mark Driscoll was found unfit for ministry by the Mars Hill Board of Elders who investigated him but was functionally left off the hook by the Board of Overseers; on what basis could Mark Driscoll or his current advocates honestly argue that Mark Driscoll is being held accountable by a presbytery of peers at this moment? 

In the wake of the Result Source and plagiarism controversies of later 2013 and 2014 on what grounds can Mark Driscoll or his advocates seriously argue that he is currently above reproach. On what basis can a man who was told to step away from ministry by the Acts 29 Network he co-founded could Mark Driscoll sign the above-referenced statement as someone who. in his own estimation (let alone as a matter of public record) was actually vetted by a church network at the time of his 2014 resignation from Mars Hill Church? 

In light of Mark Driscoll's own cumulative statements regarding "I see things" and his past boast from the pulpit that he sometimes prayed that God would kill people can Driscoll or his current supporters even attempt to argue that Driscoll has used his self-described "prophet" capacity in a way that never involved spiritual manipulation? He once said "I'm more a prophet than a politician.". Just what kind of prophet has he shown himself to be, then? For his decades-spanning career he has told men to live with a legacy in mind and what kind of legacy has he had? How eager has he been to talk about his legacy at Mars Hill since he resigned?  Can a self-styled prophet who has purged the majority of his actual pastoral legacy claim any right to tell young men these days what it means to live with a legacy in mind? What kind of prophet does that?

Maybe he's already shown us what kind of prophet he was at Mars Hill Church in Seattle and he's showing us what kind of prophet he is now. in Arizona.  


chris e said...

Coincidentally this post popped up on one of the other blogs I read:

Leaving aside the DSM a bit, and even laying aside whether or not this comprises of a coherent disorder, I think think there are important parallels to be drawn even just considering the patterns of behaviour in isolation.

That he's set up stall in a sub-culture (Pentecostalism) that norms a lot of this is really neither encouraging or a good thing.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

That indeed looks like an interesting book to read!

Being in the Robert Morris/Jimmy Evans/Jimmy Witcher orbit may mean Driscoll's not just in the Pentecostal/charismatic scene but some New Apostolic scene to boot. Mark once told me he'd met Gordon Fee and if he were moving in circles more like Gordon Fee I'd be less worried about what he's been up to. Whether or not he actually did meet Gordon Fee is another matter, I suppose.

Dbonny said...

Hello, I am working on a story about Mars Hill and its connection to the Grace City Church in Wenatchee, Wa. I'd like to connect with you and get more info about the connection between Mark Driscoll and Josh McPherson if you know of any. You can reach me via email. Thank you.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

I actually don't have a ton of information. Such as I have documented can be found via the search results for Josh McPherson.

The links in old posts are either dead links or link to stuff that has nothing to do with Mars Hill Church. Josh McPherson wrote an endorsement blurb for Win Your War but I haven't gotten around to discussing that book beyond a post or two yet.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

chris e, couldn't resist adding that book to the reading list. Thanks for mentioning it!