Spiritual Training at Mars Hill – Is It REALLY ‘All About Jesus’?

"Western Seminary Accepting Applications at Mars Hill Teaching Site… Will they teach about demon trials?

Dr. Warren Throckmorton

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Hill_Church#mediaviewer/File:Mars_Hill_Church,_Bellevue_WA.jpg

Mars Hill Church – Downtown Seattle

In case you haven't heard, Mars Hill Church will soon be hosting college and seminary classes at its Bellevue campus.  The church posted the following announcement last December:

We are excited to announce that we have agreed to terms with Corban University to host a one-year certificate in Biblical Studies, and with Western Seminary to host a Master of Arts and Master of Divinity program at Mars Hill Church Bellevue. Classes will start in the fall of 2014.

Just last month Mark Driscoll joyfully announced that applications are currently being accepted.

Corban University was founded in 1935 in Phoenix, Arizona. It later relocated to Oakland, California and then in 1969 moved to its current location in Salem, Oregon.  The name changed to Corban University in 2005. "Corban" is "a Hebrew word adopted into the Greek of the New Testament and left untranslated. It occurs only once (Mark 7:11) … and means a gift or offering consecrated to God."

Western Seminary began in 1927 at a church in Portland, Oregon and in 1944 it relocated to a slope on Mt. Tabor, where it currently remains.  According to the seminary website:

the Portland Campus has the highest student enrollment of any seminary in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to Western’s hallmark efforts to train working students who live in the Oregon, Washington, and far beyond.

These are some Western Seminary alumni whose names you might recognize — Mark Driscoll, Bruce Ware, Tim LaHaye, Stu Weber, and Bruce Wilkinson.  And here are the names of some of those who teach at the Portland campus:

Don Carson, Ray Ortlund Jr., and Tom Schreiner (all adjunct and visiting faculty), along with Gerry Breshears, who has written several books with Mark Driscoll, including:

Doctrine: What Every Christian Should Believe, with Mark Driscoll, Crossway, 2010
Vintage Church, with Mark Driscoll, Crossway, 2009
Death by Love, with Mark Driscoll, Crossway, 2008
Vintage Jesus, with Mark Driscoll, Crossway, 2008

Hopefully, all of these books have been properly footnoted since a seminary professor co-wrote them…

Over the years, Western Seminary has expanded with campuses in San Jose, Sacramento, and Seattle (starting in the fall). 

As Mark Driscoll stated in the video:

Here are the details.  Mars Hill is officially hosting a teaching site for Western Seminary. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities have given their blessing and approval, so it’s all finalized for accrediting.  That means that as of now you can earn a 1 year graduate studies certificate here in Mars Hill Bellevue where I’m standing today or you can take up to 28 credits of core Bible, Theology and Ministry Skills that will apply toward a fully accredited degree at Western Seminary.

Earlier today Dr. Warren Throckmorton sent out this interesting Tweet:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 4.30.42 PM

Ever since we read the testimony of Darlene Lopez (posted on the We Love Mars Hill website), we have been wondering the very same thing.  Please take time to read Darlene's account of what happened at her church, which became the first out-of-state satellite campus for Mars Hill Church.  It provides some insights into how Mars Hill Mark's Hill operates.  We were flabbergasted when we read this portion of Darlene's testimony:

A couple months passed and then she of the blue said, “I don’t want to be your friend. I went to a demon trial”. Apparently, the elders were doing demon trials on members or anyone who had oppression in their life. Mark Driscoll wrote this whole procedure on how to summon, and then put on trial the demons that are oppressing the believer. It all sounded strange to us. I asked her why she couldn’t be my friend and she said my name was brought up in a demon trial.

Say what?!?  A demon trial?  Things must be getting really kooky over at Mark's Hill…

We looked at what Driscoll had written regarding this topic and found a lengthy treatise on Spiritual Warfare published in 2008 on the Mars Hill website.  We are assuming that 'demon trials' have been part of the 'Martian' culture for quite a while.  Here are screen shots of instructions (from Step #10) that we found especially bizarre:

Screen shot 2014-06-25 at 3.05.51 PM

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Seriously, we're not making this stuff up… 

Blogger Tim Fall, whose website is cleverly called 'Just One Train Wreck After Another', has written an excellent post challenging the false doctrine of the Mars Hill demon trials.  We especially appreciated this section of his post: Taking Down Demon Names – who made that one up?  Tim provides a link to a post written by Dr. Warren Throckmorton over on the Patheos website.  In that post, Throckmorton writes:

You too can read about the procedure to conduct a demon trial on the Mars Hill website (how long will this remain on the site?). It is also a note on Mark Driscoll’s Facebook page. It is too long to reproduce here (go read it while it is still up, but if they take it down I will post a copy)

Throckmorton, a college psychology professor, then explains:

Over the years, I have seen the damage this approach can cause. People with mental illness, in their desperation, have sought out these experiences only to be worse off afterwards. The stigma against mental illness is a barrier to effective treatment of treatable conditions and management of chronic conditions. Procedures such as described here are certainly part of the problem.

Getting back to the demon trial as described by Mark Driscoll, he warns that one must be careful not to overlook any demons during the trial, which seems to indicate that Driscoll believes the demons are hiding and need to be exposed…

It appears that pop culture believes the very same thing.  As evidence, here is a song with which you are no doubt familiar. 

You might be interested to know that there is a parody of this song called Where My Diamonds Hide.  Check out the sped up version, along with the normal version.

When it comes to Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, truth really is stranger than fiction… 

Just remember, 'it's all about Jesus'. 😉

Lydia's Corner:  Daniel 8:1-27   1 John 2:1-17   Psalm 120:1-7  Proverbs 28:25-26

Comments

Spiritual Training at Mars Hill – Is It REALLY ‘All About Jesus’? — 325 Comments

  1. One of the churches I went to as a teenager did something along these lines to me during one service. To this day I can't stand to have someone lay hands on me when they ask to pray for me. It's like they read "This Present Darkness" and didn't get that it's fiction.

  2. I agree with you, Albuquerque Blue! A lot of us read Frank Perritti’s (so?) big selling books and too many people I knew thought they were revealed gospel truth. I kind of thought it might be a reflection of truth. Was a little afraid to engage anyone on it, because I was young and knew so little and they were so mature in the faith. (I’m a lot bolder now, even brazen!). Talk of demons being ever present was common in the church I belonged to at the time. This whole casting out of demons procedure from Mars Hill sounds completely plausible, based on my past experience, although I can’t recall any particular instances of casting demons out of anyone.

  3. I remember when deliverance ministry became a focus for a large segment of the church; well-intentioned and sincere, but I think much of both the teaching and practice seemed questionable. I witnessed one incident, without doubt, when I observed a demon cast out of an individual. The person was a non-believer who immediately repented and called on Christ’s name after the demon was cast out. In addition to the immediate spiritual transformation there was an incredible transformation in the person’s affect-physically, her appearance was transformed.

    There was no questioning of the demon, no ‘trial’, it actually was fairly low-key and seemed very natural–dare I say biblical?

  4. Well mind you I was just being a typical teen, but since I never wanted to speak in tongues it was decided I was under demonic influences or something. I just started laughing when I realized they were actually serious. Which brought on more hands on and people praying/shouting at me. I realize now that it was just people trying to live an “exciting” faith and I was just a prop for them to feel special. Good times.

  5. I just read a fascinating article last night on the Huffington Post about the ‘shadow side’ of mindfulness meditation, which is based on eastern forms. Some of the descriptions I read of people who have been seriously messed up by this almost sound like actual cases of demon oppression. When you’ve got a voice in your head telling you to kill yourself combined with a feeling that *something* else has taken over your body and mind, that sounds like a possible situation for prayer for demonic deliverance. I’m not entirely sure that such prayer is the same thing as what most people think of as “exorcism” though.

    I would be concerned about any methods of dealing with this that appear to be more influenced by TV, Hollywood, and books than the New Testament.

  6. NJ wrote:

    I just read a fascinating article last night on the Huffington Post about the ‘shadow side’ of mindfulness meditation, which is based on eastern forms.

    I went off to HuffPo to find the article and instead got sidetracked by a series of GIFs talking about Kate Kelly’s excommunication from the Mormon church. Now I know a lot of people don’t consider Mormons to be Christian, but for those of us who live in the Intermountain West, this is a fairly big deal. For example, at least two of our GOP gubernatorial candidates here in Arizona are Mormon. Plus, while I don’t know Ms. Kelly, we have a friend in common. Those of you who are afraid of Mormon proselytising may be amused to hear that within the larger community of Mormon observers, it appears that within the space of a few weeks, the church has managed to blow up any good feeling that may have accrued from its “I’m a Mormon” campaign* and from its wry, good-natured acceptance of the “Book of Mormon” musical.

    *It’s worth noting that Scientology had/has an “I’m a Scientologist” campaign as well, but it wasn’t nearly as widespread as the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. And, ironically, there was a LOT of “I’m a Mormon” advertising here in Mesa, and this town was settled by Mormons back in 1875. Not sure what was up with that.

  7. On another note, the notion that there is a Christian school someone intentionally named “Corban” seems really odd to me. I kind of get what they might have been meaning to convey, but the truth is that Jesus did not speak well of the practice of Corban. At most he was indifferent, but I think there is some actual criticism underlying his comments to the Pharisees about it all in Mark 7.

  8. A) I practise mindfulness meditation, where you bring your concentration onto simple things in the here & now. Not at all sure how this can result in demon possession. Just putting that out there. You don’t ’empty’ your mind in any way with this, it’s all about focus. Very helpful to me & my mental health.
    B) Does MH’s exorcism ritual have any roots in catholic/anglican/other historic procedures? I’m just wondering where on earth they got that wording from….apart from too much popular fiction.

  9. Have you guys read Peretti’s “The Visitation?” I re-read it recently, and it seems like a long, involved textbook-case of recovering from spiritual abuse. (It has some damaging stereotypes in there, but looking at the big picture, it is very, very healing.) I’m 99% certain that Peretti had some deep awakening about what type of damage the (c)hurch was doing–and this book was published 15 years ago.

    Regarding the two “Darkness” books–I got saved reading them. I’m a writer myself, and “Piercing” described salvation in a way that made sense, as opposed to the endless rules of the SBC churches I’d grown up in. Those books encouraged me to be a student of the Bible, and I was able to absorb the Bible deeply–then truly, authoritatively, tell legalistic teachers when they were full of cr@p. <3

  10. CORBAN University?

    The only time Jesus is recorded as using the word, it is NOT a complement.

  11. OK – so I read the Mars Hill official document on spiritual warfare (how demon trials are conducted, which a woman who had been through it said Mark Driscoll actually called it an exorcism). This part is just creepy. It’s what the participant has to ask themselves before the trial/ exorcism:

    Please read Galatians 5:19–21 and list each thing that has been a besetting and/or habitual sin for you.
    Please read Colossians 3:5–8 and list each thing that has been a besetting and/or habitual sin for you.
    Please read Mark 7:21–23 and list each thing that has been a besetting and/or habitual sin for you.
    Please consider the following list and list each thing that has been besetting and/or habitual for you: bestiality, habitual lying, physically unhealthy, masturbation, lying, pornography, ongoing depression, suicidal thoughts, alcohol abuse, drug use, anger, blasphemy, violence, self-inflicted injury, rape, incest, eating disorders, mental illness, pedophilia, and anything else that comes to mind.
    Please consider the following list of sins that may have been committed against you or by you: rape, incest, molestation, other forms of abuse (e.g., physical, sexual, mental, emotional), as well as anything else that comes to mind.
    Please briefly explain any involvement you may have had with the occult, witchcraft, or anything spiritual other than orthodox biblical Christianity.
    Please briefly list any of your ancestors and any activity they may have been involved in with the occult, witchcraft, other religions, drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual deviancy, rape, incest, mental illness, and anything else listed above or that comes to mind.
    Please briefly describe your sleeping patterns, including any inability to sleep and ongoing nightmares or disturbances.
    Please briefly list any paranormal/supernatural experiences you have had.
    Please briefly list any voices you hear and what they generally speak to you in the exact words that you hear or think.
    Please briefly list the main two or three things that you would like resolved immediately.
    Please read 1 John 4 slowly and pray each part that strikes you, honestly speaking with God about the things His Holy Spirit brings to mind.
    Please name the godly person you want to join us.

  12. So, what makes someone susceptible to this kind of baloney that Driscoll is putting out? 1) Being at the end of your rope. When you’re desperate, when you’ve tried everything (at least, everything that the church/authority says is okay to try) then you’re willing to believe anything that the Menagawd say would be helpful. 🙁 2) Being deprived. Of sleep, of resources, of fellowship, etc. No one can make good decisions in the middle of a crisis. If someone is having a mental breakdown, the patient and the family are both likely at the end of their ropes. Considering how the church at large views psychology/psychiatry, what other choices does a True Believer have? Cindy Kunsman’s wrote about “bounded choice” in these types of circumstances. Psychology is eeeevil, medication is a denial of responsibility, and a cover for your sin—and a demon trial is what the Managawd says is the right thing…? My choices are a) evil, responsibility-shirking treatment or b) what Mark Driscoll says, so I guess I’ll take b. 🙁

  13. Beakerj wrote:

    I practise mindfulness meditation, where you bring your concentration onto simple things in the here & now.

    Focus is important in prayer. The old timers used to use the term “getting on praying ground.” Their methodology was different, which meant pray about everything until you were “all prayed up” and this was a means of dealing with distractions as well as in keeping with what the bible says about the effectual prayer of a righteous man (confess all sins in the process.) The point is, at the place of being on praying ground one can focus on God, not self, and that is a good thing.

  14. dee, I’m going to send you something via email about my experience w/ psychiatry. 🙂 I think you’ll like it.

  15. About DIY protestant attempts at exorcism, I wonder if “deliver us from evil” and the occasional need to verbally resist/rebuke evil, using the paradigm of evil as actual evil personality, beyond that I agree with the catholics to leave it to the professionals. No need to try to do surgery on the kitchen table (metaphorically), regardless of the hype that seems to think such might be possible.

    Circus attraction, anyone?

  16. Oooooh, this reminds me of what we referred to as “The Summer everyone went crazy” within my college Christian group. Demons were cast out and another student prophesied that her boyfriend would marry another student. (Which he did, but…)

    I was raised with a healthy skepticism and was not exactly convinced.

  17. I could not be more HORRIFIED that a seminary has hooked up with Mars Hill. It’s a CULT for Pete’s sake! Have they not read/ heard the stuff MD has come out with over the years? The devastating testimonies and stories of victims? The account of changing the church polity and firing elders, all arrnaged to amass yet more power onto Mark the Powerful One?

    Guys, I’m in the UK. Can you tell me, is this Western Seminary a reputable one? And what does Don Carson have to do with it?

  18. I’ve taken several classes on Spiritual Warfare, Deliverance Ministry, and have been trained by people with PhD s in Religious Studies and their thesis was specifically on Spiritual Warfare.

    Having said all of that, this “Demon Trial” stuff it the weirdest, most kooky thing I’ve ever seen when it comes to this, and trust me I’ve run into some weird things people do. It’s like a strange mixture of pagan protection rituals, catholic exorcism, and really poor psychology. How does Mark even come up with this stuff?

  19. @ NJ: could you post a link? This sounds like clear symptoms of *untreated mental illness,* not “demonic” anything.

    I realize that mindfulness can be – often is – overhyped, but as beakerj said, it isn’t fundamentally dangerous. However, there are misuses, as well as many unqualified people teaching it.

  20. Realistically, I DO believe that there are demonic forces. I think they look a lot more like “institutional racism” or “misogyny” or “endemic poverty” and a lot less like “Focusing on this one random guy”

  21. @ Beakerj: regarding your 2nd point, it sounds to me like one of many forms of exorcism that arose from the 1970s charismatic movement. I’ve personally seen/experienced practitioners demanding that so-called demons identify themselves. While the MH wording is a bit different to what I’ve experienced, it’s all of a piece.

  22. Taking Down Demon Names – who made that one up? Tim provides a link to a post written by Dr. Warren Throckmorton over on the Patheos website. In that post, Throckmorton writes:

    You too can read about the procedure to conduct a demon trial on the Mars Hill website (how long will this remain on the site?). It is also a note on Mark Driscoll’s Facebook page. It is too long to reproduce here (go read it while it is still up, but if they take it down I will post a copy)

    Calling up and binding Demons?
    “Just like Sorcery, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

  23. I have been looking for a quote from C S Lewis, which I can neither find right now nor perfectly quote. Anyhow what he said was that it was a mistake for people to make either too much or too little of demons. Sounds good to me.

  24. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    I remember when deliverance ministry became a focus for a large segment of the church; well-intentioned and sincere, but I think much of both the teaching and practice seemed questionable.

    All too often, they ended up like the Witchfinders-General of the Thirty Years’ War, smelling out DEMONS under every bed.

    “When all you have is a Deliverance Ministry Hammer,
    EVERYTHING looks like a DEMON.”

  25. Invalid_Nate wrote:

    I’ve taken several classes on Spiritual Warfare, Deliverance Ministry, and have been trained by people with PhD s in Religious Studies and their thesis was specifically on Spiritual Warfare.
    Having said all of that, this “Demon Trial” stuff it the weirdest, most kooky thing I’ve ever seen when it comes to this, and trust me I’ve run into some weird things people do. It’s like a strange mixture of pagan protection rituals, catholic exorcism, and really poor psychology. How does Mark even come up with this stuff?

    Invalid Nate, what resources have been helpful to you? I believe in satan, demons, spiritual warfare, etc., but it’s *very* difficult to sort through the wheat and the chaff.

  26. May wrote:

    Guys, I’m in the UK. Can you tell me, is this Western Seminary a reputable one? And what does Don Carson have to do with it?

    Western Seminary just came onto my radar screen. I remembered Mark Driscoll getting some kind of graduate degree, but I could never remember the school he attended, which was Western Seminary.

    If you click on the link in the post, you will see that Don Carson is on the adjunct and visiting faculty list at the Portland location.

  27. @ Nancy:
    It’s at the beginning of Screwtape. I’m 100% sure that Headless Unicorn Guy can give it to us from memory. 😀

  28. Caitlin wrote:

    another student prophesied that her boyfriend would marry another student. (Which he did, but…)

    Does that fall into the category “Self-fulfilling prophecy”? 😉

  29. Deb wrote:

    Western Seminary just came onto my radar screen.

    I have several friends who are Western Seminary grads. Not a single one of them is like Driscoll, La Haye, or any others mentioned. These friends of mine are indistinguishable from other friends who went to Talbott or Fuller when it comes to doctrine and practice.

  30. Okay, I was going to avoid this topic…..I hope this doesn’t give away who I am….I doubt anyone I actually know reads this blog…
    I served for a while in far South Texas, Northern Mexico as a missionary. I have seen actual demon possession. It is the scariest thing I have ever seen, or have been involved in…..in my life. I have seen things that literally will haunt you for life….
    People who are sick, people who have been raped, people who are mentally ill are not demon possessed.
    This ” there is something wrong with you, so you’re demon possessed ” is the biggest baloney I’ve ever heard. This is nothing more than more ” control” over the congregants….

  31. @ Tim:
    Tim wrote:

    Does that fall into the category “Self-fulfilling prophecy”? 😉

    It falls under the category of “Things that we did NOT mention at the wedding” for certain. The girlfriend fell under the category of “suffering from mental illness.” It really was a tragic circumstance and I was highly annoyed with the “leadership” for allowing things to spiral like that.

  32. NJ wrote:

    When you’ve got a voice in your head telling you to kill yourself combined with a feeling that *something* else has taken over your body and mind, that sounds like a possible situation for prayer for demonic deliverance

    Sounds like my depression. sorry, no demons involved, just biochemistry.

  33. Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    It’s like they read “This Present Darkness” and didn’t get that it’s fiction.

    Tree wrote:

    I agree with you, Albuquerque Blue! A lot of us read Frank Perritti’s (so?) big selling books and too many people I knew thought they were revealed gospel truth. I kind of thought it might be a reflection of truth.

    Ah, yes, Frank Peretti. My observations about him:

    1) Back when he first made a splash with his “spiritual warfare” novels, I read a couple of them. I was not impressed. Later (at Anaheim WorldCon in the Nineties) I heard that his storytelling had improved as time went on, that he was the type of writer that needed a strong editor and didn’t have one until later in his career.

    2) That said, Peretti DID have an original concept and carried it out. The closest thing I have heard of that resembles it was a story about a certain type of Chinese theater with two stages, one above the other; the upper for the Immortals, the lower for the Mortals. What happened on one stage influenced the other, but the Mortals on the lower stage were unaware of it.

    3) Some years later, I heard Peretti had discontinued the series because he started having problems with fanboys who “didn’t realize it was fiction” but “thought they were revealed gospel truth”. There used to be an essay on the Web by fantasy author Mercedes Lackey about similar fanboy horror stories around an “Occult Detective” series she wrote.

    4) Now for “didn’t get that it’s fiction”: this got discussed at Slacktivist years ago, as part of his page-by-page snarking of Left Behind. The idea was that in the Christianese Bubble, the readers are so isolated (fed only properly bowdlerized Christianese pablum) that they have NO experience with the power of fiction, and when they read some “real stuff” (or even stuff a cut above the usual), they are overwhelmed by it. Add a literalist bent where they were taught the Bible is NOT a narrative but a Spiritual Engineering Manual checklist of Fact, Fact, Fact, and they’ll have NO way to distinguish between “False Fact and True Fiction” because all they’ve known is “edifying” Fact.

  34. K.D. wrote:

    People who are sick, people who have been raped, people who are mentally ill are not demon possessed.
    This ” there is something wrong with you, so you’re demon possessed ” is the biggest baloney I’ve ever heard. This is nothing more than more ” control” over the congregants….

    One of my writing partners told me about a Spiritual Warfare type he knew in Colorado who WAS heavily into “It’s All DEEEEMONS!” To the point that if a light bulb burned out, instead of changing the bulb he was liable to take out his Bible and start Rebuking the DEMON of Burned-Out Lightbulbs. (As far as I can tell, he wasn’t making that one up.)

    Well, Mister Mighty Spiritual Warfare was discerning and casting out DEMON after DEMON after DEMON left and right, even setting himself up as a Spiritual Warfare Counselor — binding and casting out DEMON after DEMON after DEMONS (multiple).

    Until the day he ran into a REAL case of possession.
    Can you say “Seven Sons of Sceva”?

  35. @ K.D.:
    Can you share some stories, because people need real documentation of what demon posession looks like. Have you considered starting a blog?

  36. @ Tim:

    On another note, the notion that there is a Christian school someone intentionally named “Corban” seems really odd to me. I kind of get what they might have been meaning to convey, but the truth is that Jesus did not speak well of the practice of Corban.

    Yeah, that struck me as kind of amusing too.

  37. @ May:

    Please consider the following list and list each thing that has been besetting and/or habitual for you: bestiality, habitual lying, physically unhealthy, masturbation, lying, pornography, ongoing depression, suicidal thoughts, alcohol abuse, drug use, anger, blasphemy, violence, self-inflicted injury, rape, incest, eating disorders, mental illness, pedophilia, and anything else that comes to mind.

    Rape and pedophilia? I think a criminal trial would be a much better way to remedy those behaviors than a demon trial.

    Please consider the following list of sins that may have been committed against you or by you: rape, incest, molestation, other forms of abuse (e.g., physical, sexual, mental, emotional), as well as anything else that comes to mind.

    So now we can become demon possessed because another person, essentially, sinned “on” us or “at” us? ?!?!?!

    Please briefly explain any involvement you may have had with the occult, witchcraft, or anything spiritual other than orthodox biblical Christianity.

    Okay, this could be valid, but who’s calling the shots on what qualifies as “occult”? Does reading Harry Potter or GoT count?

    Please briefly list any of your ancestors and any activity they may have been involved in with the occult, witchcraft, other religions, drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual deviancy, rape, incest, mental illness, and anything else listed above or that comes to mind.

    How is any of this relevant unless we believe in generational blessings and curses? Also, I once told someone that no women have died in childbirth, and almost no children have died young, in my family for the past 200+ years, and they asked in all seriousness if someone in my family had prayed down generational blessings upon us back in the 1700s. That was pretty funny.

    Please briefly describe your sleeping patterns, including any inability to sleep and ongoing nightmares or disturbances.

    Maybe could be relevant, but only after seeing a doctor. Also maybe checking to see if you have sleep apnea.

    Please briefly list any voices you hear and what they generally speak to you in the exact words that you hear or think.

    Once again, have we already tried a diagnosis of schizophrenia and meds?

  38. Taylor Joy wrote:

    Invalid_Nate wrote:
    I’ve taken several classes on Spiritual Warfare, Deliverance Ministry, and have been trained by people with PhD s in Religious Studies and their thesis was specifically on Spiritual Warfare.
    Having said all of that, this “Demon Trial” stuff it the weirdest, most kooky thing I’ve ever seen when it comes to this, and trust me I’ve run into some weird things people do. It’s like a strange mixture of pagan protection rituals, catholic exorcism, and really poor psychology. How does Mark even come up with this stuff?

    Invalid Nate, what resources have been helpful to you? I believe in satan, demons, spiritual warfare, etc., but it’s *very* difficult to sort through the wheat and the chaff.

    That is a very difficult thing. There are two keys in any area that involves “supernatural” encounters: DECREMENT and EDUCATION. I generally put everything through a couple lenses that help some. 1)Was the minister looking to battle a demon? 2)Was it about Jesus? 3)Was it about helping the person? 4)Does it match in any way Biblical descriptions of casting out demons? With these questions, and being lead by the Holy Spirit, I’ve been able to sift through what is reality and what is fanaticism. This is all coming from a perspective of Demonic Oppression as opposed to Demonic Possession.

    Deliverance always happens naturally, when demonic manifestation happens it is because God is present and the demon/spirit doesn’t want to let go. Demon hunting is never to be sought after, but instead happen when God is ready to bring healing to an individual. The second and third point go together. Is how the minister preforming the deliverance putting more power and emphasis on the demon or the individual finding Jesus? Honestly when I preform this stuff, I could care less what the demon’s name is what it’s goal is, etc. All I care about is that it gets out of there and that the person is filled with the Holy Spirit so it stays away. The goals of the spirit are obvious, torment and separation from God. I don’t need to play 20 questions with it to get rid of it, all I need is Jesus present. Having said that. the goal is for the person to be talking to me, not the demon. Sometimes when demonic oppression is involved it entered into the person’s life through a tragic event, like molestation. I need to talk to the person and pray for the person to bring healing to that wound. I don’t need to give the spirit any more of my time or energy by talking to it. I’ll leave that task to “channelers” and new age people. Like I said, it’s about the person and God healing them. Finally, what did Jesus and the apostles do when confronted with demonic things? If a resource is saying something that doesn’t match up to that than it is questionable. Now these are all general outlines of my personal experiences and they are flexible for specific cases.

    Hopefully this helps? Sorry I went on a bit if a writing spree. One book I think is really good for intro to spiritual warfare is called “The Three Battlegrounds” by Francis Frangapane. It emphasis having a personal healthy relationship with God in order to combat these things, which I think is always key to everything, not just spiritual warfare.

  39. @ Taylor Joy:
    I also want to add that not everybody needs to go through major deliverance ministry that involves demonic manifestation. Like I mentioned molestation earlier. Not everyone molested has demons in them. Nor do I think demons have to enter into us via some arbitrary sin we committed. These are simply things that I’ve read about AND seen first hand. They are not the rule, more like the exception.

    The overwhelming majority of the time people can find healing to oppression via personal relationship with God, no need for a big hoopla. Which is why I love the book I recommended to you so much as that is what it emphasizes on.

  40. @ K.D.:
    KD, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you–I’m just going through a very significant period of doubt, and I needed to hear from someone who’d been in the trenches. I’m so sorry if I came across as intrusive or prodding. 🙁

  41. I tried to find the update to the John McArthur story about a remarkable email but couldn’t find it from the link above in the little box. Can you tell me how to access it?

    Thanks

  42. Tim Fall wrote:

    It doesn’t take elaborate trials. It doesn’t take a 12 step protocol for identifying demons by name, binding them up, casting them into pits, and dredging up a person’s ancestral sins (whatever that means).

    It takes Jesus, who nailed Satan’s powers to the cross, gives us the ability to resist Satan, and sends him fleeing from us.

    Mr. Driscoll’s teachings are just made up nonsense.

    Amen.

  43. Taylor Joy wrote:

    @ K.D.:
    KD, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you–I’m just going through a very significant period of doubt, and I needed to hear from someone who’d been in the trenches. I’m so sorry if I came across as intrusive or prodding.

    It wasn’t you. It was just a period of my life I do not enjoy revisiting….and were are talking 25+ years ago now….

  44. @ Hester:

    Excellent rebuttal to the wackiness (and downright scariness) of those points!

    What I don’t understand is, why is a seminary joining up with this crackpot cult?

  45. nmgirl wrote:

    Sounds like my depression. sorry, no demons involved, just biochemistry.

    I am so glad that you commented. You are a living example as to why Christians must be careful about making assumptions that a given situation is proof of demon possession.

    Let me bring it into another realm. I am not a fan of Benny Hinn. None of his supposed healing have been proven. One of the more manipulative techniques that Hinn uses is to work up a person into a frenzy so that they believe they are healed. They throw away their crutches, whatever, and a miracle is declared.

    However, follow-up has proven that these people are not healed in the long run. Days after the “healing” they revert back to their ill state. Hinn refuses to let doctors actually examine people, look at lab reports, X-rays, etc. The one time he did, for a claim that he made a “tumor disappear,” it was a disaster. He showed a tumor on film before and then the tumor disappears after the “healing.” Unfortunately, he did not mention the person had surgery to remove the tumor in between.

    I admire the Catholic church in this matter. They have an office that examines all claims of demon possession, and there are lots of them. They require all sorts of psychiatric input, medical input, etc.before they even consider a case. They do relatively few exorcisms and this is in a church with a billion adherents.

    Before a demon is declared to have been exorcised, let’s get the doctors involved, history established, and then long term follow-up to see if the exorcism, for want of a better term “takes” as the years progress.

    Proof-that’s what all thinking Christians should ask for-proof.

    If they do not do this, they are apt to cause incalculable damage to an individual who may need serious medical intervention to deal with depression, schizophrenia, etc.

  46. Funny story follows that illustrates a point: about my own bout with a mental issue. It was not funny at the time.

    Once upon a time when I was a senior student nurse we were on a rotation at a large state psychiatric hospital. I had the issue to deal with of what to do next after our imminent graduation: get a job, go back to the university and take up where I left off, get married, go to seminary for the requisite year of training and then apply to the mission board, some combination of the above. Big issue. So I established a plan of prayer and fasting (nothing outlandish) and proceeded to do just that.

    Remember that I said state psychiatric hospital.

    Now we know, and I knew then but did not know what to do with it, that I was born to throw my life into medical diagnosis of some sort. Eventually diagnostic radiology, but that was not the issue then. None the less, I instinctively think in diagnostic terms (a lot of people do), and the first thing one does after gathering a reasonable amount of information, is establish a differential diagnosis. That is a list of things which something might be, as nearly in descending order of probability as possible. That then leads either to treatment or to further focused information gathering to resolve the question of what is going on here. Thumbnail sketch of the process.

    So, in the middle of this scene, and quite unexpectedly and without fanfare or hoodoo, while praying I noticed that I had apparently lost my mind Now we call it a prayer language. Then we just panicked and wet our pants or something. Anyhow, I immediately came up with an obvious differential diagnosis: acute onset of some hitherto unknown psychosis, possibly a form of schizophrenia; some infectious agent such as a virus which could be causing mental illness in this psychiatric hospital and which illness I had contracted; demonic influence because though there was no proof that demons caused mental illness neither was there proof that they did not. Rule out the possibility that it did not really happen and I was just too tired.

    Had there been some crackpot charlatan doing exorcisms I well may have lined up for the procedure at that point, since obviously there was no mainstream medical information to help me. Somebody said that people in certain situations will turn to most anything, sure enough. Absolutely, and the situation does not have to be all that dramatic.

    What I actually did do is decide that I could control the symptoms and maybe nobody would be the wiser for it and I could continue with my life plans. And so I did. Diagnosis: crazy, not otherwise specified. Treatment: symptomatic.

  47. TedS. wrote:

    The caption on the photo in your post is incorrect. The photo is not the Bellevue, Washington Mars Hill. The photo is the MH downtown Seattle franchise.

    Thanks for your correction. It appears the label on this photo over at Wikipedia is incorrect. I have made the appropriate change in our post. 🙂

  48. Does MD believe that a Christian can be demon possessed? (Because they can’t be.) Or is this just about oppression? Why all the rigmarole? Why not just pray? Isn’t a prayer good enough? Someone has suggested elsewhere it’s a way to get information on the person to control them.

    I’m afraid what’s going on at MH is going to result in someone trying suicide.

  49. @ Albuquerque Blue:
    Let me tell you a funny story that happened to me.

    When my girls were babies, one night, when my husband was not at home, I finished reading the first book “This Present Darkness” which creeped me out. I certainly did not believe it was the way things work but it was still spooky. Abby woke up, crying, and I went downstairs to get her something to drink. It was pitch dark and I was thinking about the “living room” scene in the book with all the demons sitting on the shoulders of people.

    As I turned a corner in the dark house, a head shaped, luminescent object came floating right up to my face and I screamed bloody murder…. It was simply one of those mylar balloons which had lost some air. The moon was shining through the window and caused it to glow a bit and the heat was blowing and wafter it in my direction.

    Talk about weird.

  50. @ K.D.:

    I haven’t encountered a demon-possessed person, and have only once encountered anything I could confidently describe as a demonic presence – that was about 25 years ago when I’d not long been a Christian. It was an extreme sense of oppression and fear that was unmistakably in the room, both qualitatively and quantitatively different from just having the creeps while walking through a creaky forest in a remote Scottish glen in the middle of the night where you’re the only person for miles.

    Also different was the fact that after a very short period of rebuking it and declaring Jesus’ kingship, it vanished much more suddenly than it arrived, leaving absolutely no trace for the rest of the night (nor ever since). I have occasionally tried rebuking an attack of the creeps (which, I repeat, never feel remotely the same as the incident I just described). That has never worked: not surprisingly, because “having the creeps” is really just a slightly childish state of mind and there is little biblical evidence that you can “cast out” immaturity..! I’m often reminded of a useful bit of teaching I heard a while back, which was (in summary) that you can’t exorcise what isn’t actually a spiritual problem.

  51. In other news, wee brit Heather Watson isn’t doing too well against the 9th seed Angelique Kerber.

    This, too, is unlikely to be a spiritual problem.

  52. In other other news, and with respect to prophesy, the Psychic Clam says that the US will beat Germany.

  53. @ Caitlin:

    Sorry, Caitlin – our comments crossed in the ether!

    Your point is a good one but I’ll pick up the conversation later if I may, because I have a windswept (and therefore midge-free) window to dig the garden here in Scotland…

  54. @ Beakerj:

    “A) I practise mindfulness meditation, where you bring your concentration onto simple things in the here & now…Very helpful to me & my mental health.”
    ++++++++++++++

    To me, there is a culturally-Christian knee-jerk reaction to the word “eastern”, inciting fear, grave suspicion. This is not well-thought through.

    The way I see it, Christian culture’s approach to spiritual pursuits are an entirely western product (based on writings which grew out of culture(s) with spiritual customs that would surely make western Europeans & their descendants squirm). It has all been redefined through the ages by things like art (art, which doesn’t spring from a vacuum of thought, and is infused with politics of all kinds).

    In our day, Christian culture’s mental picture of what spiritual pursuits should look like is just as defined by “Christian” art (i’m thinking largely of Frances Hook’s renditions, and the film, “Jesus of Nazareth”, and certainly Precious Moments didn’t help any).

    All of it portrays Jesus and NT characters in postures and practice through a western lense.

    I strongly suspect when Jesus went out in the wilderness to pray it resembled “eastern” things a great deal, and bore no resemblance to what has eventuated into evangelical world.

    B) Does MH’s exorcism ritual have any roots in catholic/anglican/other historic procedures? I’m just wondering where on earth they got that wording from….apart from too much popular fiction.

  55. K.D. wrote:

    you want to pray for someone, pray for the folks in Mexico and especially all missionaries and ministers, Protestant and Catholic in that nation…

    Ditto for west africa where I spent some time.

  56. Here’s that quote: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

  57. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    In other news, wee brit Heather Watson isn’t doing too well against the 9th seed Angelique Kerber. This, too, is unlikely to be a spiritual problem.

    And in even more news, the US is looking pretty poor against Germany so far…..

  58. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I haven’t encountered a demon-possessed person, and have only once encountered anything I could confidently describe as a demonic presence – that was about 25 years ago when I’d not long been a Christian. It was an extreme sense of oppression and fear that was unmistakably in the room, both qualitatively and quantitatively different from just having the creeps while walking through a creaky forest in a remote Scottish glen in the middle of the night where you’re the only person for miles.

    I have experienced something identical, word for word description of what it seems like, even the quick disappearance. I have always questioned the experience, but I think that listening you has made me question it less. I don’t know about you, but I was terrified beyond belief at the time.

    But I did see something the missionaries were calling possession when I was in Africa. Whole different thing altogether. I was not too convinced of this either, but it certainly was a definite maybe.

  59. I think Darlene’s testimony is the same one I referenced a few days ago where she said that when another Mars Hill member found out she was tithing $40 a month to Mars Hill, the MH churchite told her to go on food stamps so that she could give even more money to Mark Driscoll.

    That actually stood out to me more, for some reason, than even the weirdo demon teaching stuff.

  60. Caitlin wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I would love to hear your thoughts on the abilities of psychic bivalves.

    Yeah… turns out the breeze isn’t as strong as I thought and the (notoriously sheltered) top corner of our garden is currently midge-infested. So no gardening this evening. 🙁

    The psychic clam… I know, how cute is that? I’ve no opinion on him/her, but as a non-standard and rebellious Englishman I have a great deal of time for German football *. I’m hoping for a really good, attacking 2-2 draw, so that you can both go through with honours.

    * In fact I’m thinking of applying for a transfer.

  61. K.D. wrote:

    And in even more news, the US is looking pretty poor against German so far…..

    US having plenty of the ball, but Germany looking sharper in the final third, by all accounts. No score at the time of writing, though.

  62. The way Mark Driscoll uses his demon theology is the same as the way Kenneth Hagen used his healing theology and the same way that Benny Hinn uses his power theology and the Neo Cals use their preaching theology. Everyone knows something is wrong, but when it’s right, if you were there, you know that too. Why do we fight so hard against what we just know in our spirit.
    I know people who have been completely changed in heart and spirit in an instant after hearing the good news of Jesus Christ.
    I know people who have been instantly healed from physical ailments.
    I know people who have been instantly delivered from tormenting demons, I am one of those people. The process however was not started by a minister. It was definitely started by the Holy Spirit, just like the man in the synagogue in Jesus day, the demon was responding to the truth spoken and couldn’t handle it because God decided that it was time for me to be free, long story. Then during the process there was no desire from the minister to know juicy details that the demons had privy to. No one but God and me knew the depths of my torment at the time. I could never speak of it. I can now.
    Since then I have seen so much craziness from church leaders and church people that I conclude that every miracle of God is always being attempted to be reproduced by humans and counterfeited by demons, even putting on laughable shows of fake deliverance just like there are laughable shows made up of fake healings and fake preaching. Just as we cannot force a person to be born again or physically healed, we cannot force a person to be free from demons. I say that anything short of being led by the Holy Spirit at the moment God wants us to be a minister in His miracles is simply practicing witchcraft, no condemnation though to those who genuinely think at the time that they might be led and find out later that they weren’t.
    I would really like someone from Mars Hill to testify about their ‘demon trial’ with Mark many years ago and were instantly delivered and from that exact moment on they no longer deal with that particular issue AND that a different issue they never had before did not suddenly pop up in its place.
    As far as the Frank Peretti books, they actually helped balance me to the other degree I believe. When I had read them I thought that they were completely fictitious in nature, not biblical at all. But then again that’s what I also thought about the church songs I was learning after surrendering all to God. It was only after reading the whole Bible with a changed heart that I began to see the truth in Peretti’s books such as I never knew about the angel having to fight their way to give Daniel an answer to his prayer. Then I started reading the Psalms that were the exact words of the songs I was learning in my new church. You see, even though I was raised in an anti Calvinist Baptist school and a Calvinist church simultaneously and had Bible classes every day and memorized many whole Bible chapters, I did not know what the Bible said. It was all just blah blah blah to me. Since supposedly all of that upbringing made me a Christian maybe that’s why I never knew what the Bible said about demons either. Having been taught that they can’t affect Christians I probably just always skipped over those passages. After a year of totally being changed, only God knew the struggle in my head and that on the very day I was deciding to turn away from the church because I felt like a hypocrite in my mind God set me free. But I was as embarrassed as I assume the man in the synagogue must have felt when he suddenly blurted out untimely words during what I assume was a usually calm church service for him. The deliverance wasn’t pretty. The man was thrown down.
    Everyone knows how much I have against Mark Driscoll but to be objective and as kind as I can be, I hold to the possibility that just maybe God actually did work through him for deliverance a time or two and like everything else I think he does up big, he jumped on a bandwagon to promote the show. And since I never sense love in his teaching it’s just a very loud annoying show.

  63. Lopez’s testimony is both heart wrenching and infuriating at the same time. Heart wrenching because it’s sad to the hear of the lengths humans will go to in order to ‘belong’ to a group and seek its approval. Why her account is infuriating should be self-evident to anyone who reads it.

  64. Daisy wrote:

    I think Darlene’s testimony is the same one I referenced a few days ago where she said that when another Mars Hill member found out she was tithing $40 a month to Mars Hill, the MH churchite told her to go on food stamps so that she could give even more money to Mark Driscoll. That actually stood out to me more, for some reason, than even the weirdo demon teaching stuff.

    Yes, the 'go on food stamps so you can give money to the Mars Hill Machine' really stood out to me, too! I wonder how many Martians are actually doing this. I am grateful that some of this weird stuff about Mars Hill is finally seeping out.

  65. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    US having plenty of the ball, but Germany looking sharper in the final third, by all accounts. No score at the time of writing, though.

    We’re through! That’s all that matters!! 🙂

  66. @ Beakerj:

    No roots that this Anglican who has seen exorcisms both liturgical and not. One does not do anything but exorcise (i.e.: get rid of in the name of Jesus) the demon quickly and then pray with the person to welcome God to love, heal, and nurture the wounded places in the person’s life – this may involve holy water, oil of unction, and/or communion. Always reconciliation of the person with their loving Creator, their blessed Savior, and the indwelling Holy Spirit is the goal. Scripture is always used.

  67. @ May:
    That is so sickening. I can’t believe people use things that are meant to be acts of freedom and morph them into abuse and oppression.

  68. @ EV:
    Exactly. They’re using a combination of so-called spiritual warfare techniques cobbled together from (I think) charismatic sources plus a lot of fantasy novel tropes. The text sounds like it came from the witchfinderrs’ manuals that were in circulation in Europe during the era of witch trials. And *that* makes me shudder. It’s too much like the Inquisition.

  69. @ Eagle:
    No, please no. The link to the pa@ Eagle:
    Eagle, my first thought is that this is an elaborate hoax. However, I don’t have enough of a background to make that claim.

  70. @ elastigirl: totally agreed on the knee-jerk reaction. It has taken me a *long* time to get past that myself, and I still have vestiges of it here and there.

    I believe you’re right about the whole megillah, as European and Euro-American culture is deeply rooted in pre-xtian beliefs and customs. Of course, Americans seem to love creating our own stuff, whether it’s ghost hunting shows or mythical beasdts like the Jersey devil. (I am pretty sure that all the hoopla comes down to one thing: people blundering into cranes unexpectedly.)

  71. Caitlin wrote:

    Realistically, I DO believe that there are demonic forces. I think they look a lot more like “institutional racism” or “misogyny” or “endemic poverty” and a lot less like “Focusing on this one random guy”

    Well put, and actually this was the topic of a psychology paper I read one time. Basically, the author was arguing that people who are involved in occulting practices (focussing especially on exorcisms) tended to exhibit higher than normal NPD markers.

  72. I am not sure that people who get caught up in excesses such as being discussed necessarily are charlatans or wacko. Surely some seem to be. But back about 35 or 40 years ago when some branch of the charismatic movement swept though our little town like a mini-tornado all sorts of people got on board, did all kinds of seriously odd things, and then the fad sort of passed on and people went back to whatever they were before for the most part. The whole thing of excesses gives a bad name to some things we really should be taking seriously. There is such a thing as evil, not just bad decisions. There are spiritual realities, not just fads. For almost everyone there are ideas and practices beyond or different from what they are used to which may be true and useful if explored and perhaps implemented. And IMO it is really good that we can discuss things openly and honestly, and the web is part of what makes that possible. Go, Deebs.

  73. Deb wrote:

    Yes, the ‘go on food stamps so you can give money to the Mars Hill Machine’ really stood out to me, too! I wonder how many Martians are actually doing this. I am grateful that some of this weird stuff about Mars Hill is finally seeping out.

    Unfortunately, this sort of thing has been a staple of Christian TV, such as TBN, for years.

    During their “Praise A Thons” or other programs, the TBN owners, the Crouches, have actually told people stuff like, “if you are a little old grandma living on food stamps and only have a tiny amount of money for groceries, send us your grocery money.”*

    That in turn reminds me of what Jesus told the Pharisees: they nullified the intent of God’s word by telling sons to talk money they would otherwise use to support their elderly mom and dad and give it to the Temple.

    Jesus seemed to be saying God would rather your money go to your needy elderly Mom and Dad, and only give your money to the Temple if you have any left to spare, or if you can afford it. That never gets preached on TBN or in many churches these days.

    *I just looked it up, and there are several videos on You Tube of TBN owner Jann Crouch telling viewers to send TBN their grocery money.
    “jan crouch – Give God your grocery money”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRirh4zTwig

  74. Tim wrote:

    NPD?

    I’m not sure, but I think that stands for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (Or it used to.)

  75. elastigirl wrote:

    To me, there is a culturally-Christian knee-jerk reaction to the word “eastern”, inciting fear, grave suspicion. This is not well-thought through.

    I completely agree with this, there’s also just so much ridiculous superstition in the church over these things. They conveniently forget that God made the mind & the body, & their abilities. If various abilities – i.e. breathing techniques, have been co-opted by other world views then it’s not because those things are wrong in themselves, they have been wrongly used.
    For me it’s just another example of where useful things, relaxation techniques,yoga for exercise etc are all binned needlessly by Christians. If I find it useful I can almost guarantee some Christian somewhere will be rabid about it.

    If I could I’d spend time focusing on God mentally, but I still get sucked down a huge anxiety laden linguistic/theological wormhole that predictably ends up with agonising over the finer points of calvinism. Then I’m under the bed again, & it’s all gone wrong….I’ll just stick to thinking about how my bed, body or breathing feels for now.

  76. Tim wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    normal NPD markers.
    NPD?

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  77. @ numo:

    I just posted that….the original source is the Indianapolis newspaper. It involves the Indianapolis police department, social services and the RC church. That strikes me different. I can’t imagine the police department being so easily had.

  78. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I was going to comment on the irony of “Corban”, but several of you have beaten me to it.

    My take: Someone in marketing thought it sounded cool and possibly Ivy-Leaguish, and so they used it.

  79. Please briefly explain any involvement you may have had with the occult, witchcraft, or anything spiritual other than orthodox biblical Christianity.

    Well, to be honest, the only experience I have outside orthodox, biblical Christianity is Mars Hill.

  80. May wrote:

    What I don’t understand is, why is a seminary joining up with this crackpot cult?

    Not to be too snarky, but “seminary” once meant (generally respected) institute of higher learning. Heck, Harvard and Yale started out as seminaries. Unfortunately, many seminaries today are seeking money wherever it can be found, even if it means pandering to weirdness. If you don’t believe me, just look at the downward descent of SBTS over the last 20 years.

  81. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Well, to be honest, the only experience I have outside orthodox, biblical Christianity is Mars Hill.

    awkward…..

    I am WAY too snarky and speak your mind to do well at a place like that. I’d be looking for trouble before you could say “demon trial.”

  82. @ Tim:

    Alright. Of course, your idea about the already and prior forgiveness of all sin past, present and future would also find people calling that contrary to sound doctrine. (Just read an article on that about a week ago, whether christians need to confess their sins.)

    But saying something is contrary to sound doctrine, as you did, is a lot better that calling somebody a charlatan or a wacko, which may be unhelpful terminology. I am rather thinking spiritual deception in some cases.

    But that was a good post of yours.

  83. Tim wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    normal NPD markers.
    NPD?

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

  84. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Please briefly explain any involvement you may have had with the occult, witchcraft, or anything spiritual other than orthodox biblical Christianity.
    Well, to be honest, the only experience I have outside orthodox, biblical Christianity is Mars Hill.

    Love it. Let’s don’t overlook that they themselves want to define what is anything spiritual other than orthodox biblical christianity, and the lutheran understanding of the eucharist would not pass the test of biblical orthodoxy at Mars Hill, and your participation in it would be a problem right there.

  85. Eagle wrote:

    I just posted that….the original source is the Indianapolis newspaper. It involves the Indianapolis police department, social services and the RC church. That strikes me different. I can’t imagine the police department being so easily had.

    My wife’s family was involved with this (friend of a friend type thing; they live nearby). By all accounts it is no hoax at all. The null hypothesis still holds, but it was a well documented series of events corroborated by official documents across multiple state agencies.

  86. Caitlin wrote:

    I am WAY too snarky and speak your mind to do well at a place like that. I’d be looking for trouble before you could say “demon trial.”

    I know. I’m sitting here thinking how can they not see the irony? It’s as subtle as a sledge hammer.

  87. Nancy wrote:

    The whole thing of excesses gives a bad name to some things we really should be taking seriously. There is such a thing as evil, not just bad decisions.

    I was reading an interview today with a (western) chap who works in the Middle East as a missionary. Short story even shorter, they see a fair number of healing miracles. It wasn’t always this way, but they’ve learned. He made this comment, among others:

    In some ways, it was easier to live with no expectation of healing and miracles. We didn’t expect to see people healed, and therefore didn’t pray very often for healing and didn’t get disappointed. We basically got what we believed. When we began to see healing, we also had to begin to deal with the fact that some people don’t get healed. Our theology had to mature.

    He and his associates work in a predominantly Muslim country where evangelism is essentially illegal. This of course means that they have to think clearly and carefully about everything they do. They can’t go for cheap, easy “decisions for Christ” because even nominal converts would face arrest themselves. They are not free to force crude or fatuously simplistic solutions down people’s throats and they need discretion and wisdom, as well as love and respect. And in many ways this is a blessing in disguise because whatever they do, they do well.

    I especially love that bit about our theology had to mature. Later in the article he notes that he’s very successful now with migraines, but “although he’s prayed for many deaf and blind people, he can count their healings on one hand”. That’s one more hand than most of us would need to use, I suspect.

    By contrast, here in the west it is all too easy to push crackpot religion that doesn’t work. Mars Hill is owned and run by a man with the character and theology of an 18-year-old – specifically, the 18-year-old he was when he first read the bible and decided he was called to “teach men” what he read there. He’s never submitted to anyone since, and so although his theology has evolved to some extent, it has never had to mature: they are not the same thing.

  88. From the body of the main post:

    We looked at what Driscoll had written regarding this topic and found a lengthy treatise on Spiritual Warfare published in 2008 on the Mars Hill website. We are assuming that ‘demon trials’ have been part of the ‘Martian’ culture for quite a while. Here are screen shots of instructions (from Step #10) that we found especially bizarre:

    Driscoll and Cotton Mather seem to have a great deal in common. But the thing is, our present day courts will not take kindly to Mr. Driscoll and Mars Hill should anything go drastically (victim suicide for instance) wrong with one of their ‘spiritual warfare’ sessions. Stupid is one thing Mr. Driscoll is not, and I think he’s fully aware of the risks to his organization if he allows his teachings on demonology to trickle over into actual sect practice.

  89. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Unfortunately, many seminaries today are seeking money wherever it can be found, even if it means pandering to weirdness. If you don’t believe me, just look at the downward descent of SBTS over the last 20 years.

    Yes, I accept that seminaries vary widely. What made me sit up was that Don Carson is associated – however remotely – with this one. He has gone on record calling Mark Driscoll his ‘friend’ and sticking up for him, so I imagine he must be fine with the whole MH set-up. I suppose I find it hard to accept the utter lack of discernment shown by guys like Carson, Dever, Piper – men held up as great leaders and theologians.

  90. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Mars Hill is owned and run by a man with the character and theology of an 18-year-old – specifically, the 18-year-old he was when he first read the bible and decided he was called to “teach men” what he read there. He’s never submitted to anyone since, and so although his theology has evolved to some extent, it has never had to mature: they are not the same thing.

    Good point. It reminds me that a few years ago Don Carson (sorry to keep banging on about him!) described Mark Driscoll as ‘brilliant, but immature’. Wonder if he thinks he’s matured much since then?

  91. May wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    Unfortunately, many seminaries today are seeking money wherever it can be found, even if it means pandering to weirdness. If you don’t believe me, just look at the downward descent of SBTS over the last 20 years.
    Yes, I accept that seminaries vary widely. What made me sit up was that Don Carson is associated – however remotely – with this one. He has gone on record calling Mark Driscoll his ‘friend’ and sticking up for him, so I imagine he must be fine with the whole MH set-up. I suppose I find it hard to accept the utter lack of discernment shown by guys like Carson, Dever, Piper – men held up as great leaders and theologians.

    Seminaries are so different than when I attended in the 1980s….I doubt I would even recognize what is going on now in Ft. Worth.
    There are so many seminaries and bible schools and bible institutes that are now affiliated with the SBC today, as I said, I would love to be on a pulpit committee just to wade through the possible people to call….or maybe I don’t…I wonder how many of these preachers would lie to my face in order to get the position?

  92. @ May:

    There are a lot of educated and intelligent people on the weird fringes of the charismatic (for want of a better word) scene, who are there because it ticks some important box for them. Not trying to be funny here, but I am educated and – on paper – intelligent and I’ve certainly hung around some weird fringes. I say “weird” with some caution as I’ve learned a lot of very good and important stuff in settings that most people would despise… but I stray.

    With Fiscal, there is this thing about “reformed doctrine” and “I teach the bible”. Whether he does or not is less important than the fact that so many people believe he does, and that ticks such a huge box for our learned reformed™ theological friends that they simply cannot help but fawn over him.

  93. May wrote:

    It reminds me that a few years ago Don Carson (sorry to keep banging on about him!) described Mark Driscoll as ‘brilliant, but immature’. Wonder if he thinks he’s matured much since then?

    I wonder if he still thinks he is brilliant?

  94. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    There are a lot of educated and intelligent people

    Arguably, of course, I should have said “there is a lot since the collective noun “lot” is singular. However, that is one of the areas in which English is evolving.

  95. This crazy was in style when I first became a believer. Spiritual warfare was the name of the game.There was a very cray cray book called Pigs in the Parlor. Had not thought about it in years. My mom was big on demons. She called everything a demon…demon of smoking, demon of sex, demon of bitterness, demon of what ever you are doing that I don’t approve of, etc. Mark should come up with something more original.

  96. @ Eagle: it came up on imonk a few months ago.

    I read a lot then, and I believe it’s an elaborate hoax, as with the “Amityville Horror.”

    Am sure that the people involved are just waiting to sign movie contracts, if they haven’t already done so.

  97. Nancy wrote:

    For almost everyone there are ideas and practices beyond or different from what they are used to which may be true and useful if explored and perhaps implemented.

    Sorry, Nancy, I’ve re-read my last response to you and frankly it has hee-haw to do with what you wrote! Which, by the way, was really good.

    I agree with you that there are both evil, demonic agencies and poor decisions on the part of human beings in the world. And in any given human suffering, either of both of them may be operating. Or neither – we’re all mortal, and God sends rain on the just and the unjust *. And we won’t relieve that suffering if we can’t tell the difference.

    * Though no calvinist, I’m somehow not comfortable with calling stuff “luck”… so I call it “weather”. Potayto potahto, tbh…

  98. @ Nick Bulbeck: re. educated but on the weird fringes: me too, Nick.

    In fact, you could throw in the entire membership of That Church, because they really tip the scales toward the multiple university degrees/high-level professional jobs types who seem to absorb it all like sponges.

    so did I, even though I truly had doubts about some of it, but one thing I’d already learned was to stifle that in order to be accepted by the group.

  99. numo wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck: re. educated but on the weird fringes: me too, Nick.
    In fact, you could throw in the entire membership of That Church, because they really tip the scales toward the multiple university degrees/high-level professional jobs types who seem to absorb it all like sponges.
    so did I, even though I truly had doubts about some of it, but one thing I’d already learned was to stifle that in order to be accepted by the group.

    I have thought that….why would all these educated multi-degreed people seem to go for this….I’ve seen some SBC and non-denomination churches with what I called some really odd ideas be full of really educated people….someone please explain this to me??

  100. @ K.D.: I wish I understood it. But there’s this: people are drawn to mysterious things. We just are. There’s still a lot of Mystery (cap M is deliberate) in aspects of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, the various Lutheran churches, and some others, I’m sure.

    But I think a lot of low-church Protestantism is rather emotionally barren and arid. People want to *feel,* and people want something they can see and touch and experience. God, being spirit, cannot be touched, but… this other stuff can.

    Plus I really think there’s a certain “cool” factor; being part of a group that other people don’t know about. Insiders/outsiders, all of that.

    And then there’s sheer gullibility and/or naïveté. I was 16 when I became involved in the early 70s charismatic renewal – i.e., *not* old enough to know better about some of the stuff. It seemed simple: people my parents’ age could point to passages in the NT and say, “This is real.” I believed them. At that point, there was a lot of overlap w/the counterculture and Jesus People and… you name it, it was there. The thing is, some of the things were real, but so much that was presented as part of a package *wasn’t.*

    I don’t think there’s a single person on this earth who doesn’t, somehow, long for the transcendent, even if only deep down (in a place they can’t/won’t/don’t acknowledge).

  101. @ K.D.: There’s also the indisputable fact that book smarts does not equal street smarts.

    A lot of educated people are pretty naive, when you come right down to it. Not all, but many.

  102. Invalid_Nate wrote:

    It’s like a strange mixture of pagan protection rituals, catholic exorcism, and really poor psychology. How does Mark even come up with this stuff?

    “I SEE Things….”

  103. @ dee:
    Heh, that is funny. 🙂

    My wife loves horror movies, I do not. One night after watching one with her I come down for and I’m playing some xbox half asleep. Then all of a sudden, just like one of the creatures in the movie something jumps up on the couch with me. My wife wouldn’t stop laughing after I explained I’d screamed like a little kid when one of my cats jumped up for petting.

  104. dee wrote:

    It was pitch dark and I was thinking about the “living room” scene in the book with all the demons sitting on the shoulders of people.

    Sounds like something from Voudun; the Loa riding their Horses.

    Was this in his second Spiritual Warfare novel? I remember a scene where the Demons and their “Horses” were meeting in a smoke-free room to plot how to destroy Christianity in the town/America/whatever. Every one of the plotters completely possessed and guided by the Demon riding him. I read through the scene and picked out ALL the characters there — “THAT’s Ayn Rand, THAT’s Madelyn Murray O’Hair, THAT’s The Amazing Randi, THAT’s Carl Sagan, THAT’s Anton LaVey, THAT’s Steven Jay Gould, THAT’s Shirley Mac Laine….” I remember it being THAT obvious.

    Like I said earlier, I got told Peretti was the type of writer who needs a strong editor, and he didn’t have one until later in his carerr.

    As I turned a corner in the dark house, a head shaped, luminescent object came floating right up to my face and I screamed bloody murder…. It was simply one of those mylar balloons which had lost some air. The moon was shining through the window and caused it to glow a bit and the heat was blowing and wafter it in my direction.

    Which is why you don’t read horror after dark, and you especially don’t go into a room with the lights out AFTER reading horror.

    “Why do we always have to talk about stuff like this at night?”
    — Calvin to Hobbes as they hide under a blanket

  105. Mykingdomforhorse wrote:

    This crazy was in style when I first became a believer. Spiritual warfare was the name of the game.There was a very cray cray book called Pigs in the Parlor.

    Title sounds like a knockoff of Turmoil in the Toybox, which I became very familiar with as a D&Der during the Satanic Panic.

  106. TW wrote:

    May wrote:
    It reminds me that a few years ago Don Carson (sorry to keep banging on about him!) described Mark Driscoll as ‘brilliant, but immature’. Wonder if he thinks he’s matured much since then?

    I wonder if he still thinks he is brilliant?

    A Legend in his own mind.

  107. Muff Potter wrote:

    Driscoll and Cotton Mather seem to have a great deal in common. But the thing is, our present day courts will not take kindly to Mr. Driscoll and Mars Hill should anything go drastically (victim suicide for instance) wrong with one of their ‘spiritual warfare’ sessions. Stupid is one thing Mr. Driscoll is not, and I think he’s fully aware of the risks to his organization if he allows his teachings on demonology to trickle over into actual sect practice.

    This is why these guys have their members sign those contracts, so they can shield themselves from financial liability for their actions. I’d note that those contracts will not protect church leaders from VERY BAD publicity, nor from criminal charges, if those are warranted. Best just not to have the contract to start out with.

  108. I had one experience that happened 30-ish years ago, when our daughter was perhaps a year old or less. I awoke in the middle of the night with a sense of cold and evil. I stood and saw a figure in the little hall between our bedroom and hers, a 5’10” to 6′ tall man form with a doberman head. I commanded him to leave in the name of Jesus the Christ. He turned to look at me. When I repeated the command the figure disappeared. I firmly believe the experience was real. When the figure was gone, so was the sense of cold and evil.

  109. K.D. wrote:

    someone please explain this to me??

    Would if I could, KD, but it is a mystery high on my “why” list?

  110. @ An Attorney:

    Between what you and Nick said I am more convinced that what I experienced was something real, not just my mind playing tricks. I am not sure I am too happy about that though.

  111. @ numo:

    My son, a multi-degree person with an undergraduate degree in philosophy and religion and being raised free will baptist, none the less until recently was basically biblically illiterate, by my standards. Despite a mother who raised him on: the bible says. I have no idea how that happened.

  112. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Yes! This. I can remember, for years, trying to rebuke what I thought was demonic attacks on my thoughts……when finally, after I had begun therapy and started healing….I realized I had been trying to rebuke memories that were trying to surface….Oy!

  113. Pastor Harry Hardwick on the Hobby of Being a Homosexual. Have you heard Landover Baptist has found demons in your body!! Something to consider as we talk about deliverance!! I think Pastor Deacon Fred has some insight as well!! :-p

    http://youtu.be/GvBGTcJFIGs

  114. @ NJ:
    I honestly think that meditation/whatever other practices were being engaged in either triggered or aggravated preexisting psychiatric problems. This sounds very much psychological/emotional to me – and, sadly, all too real.

  115. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    After God set me free from what I believe were evil spirits and not just crazy mental illness I read everything I could get my hands on about the subject of demons including Pigs in the Parler. That book never set well with me. It seemed to just lead people into a whole other kind of legalistic bondage. I think that there are a lot of demons around us and sometimes in our flesh, I do not dwell on them and rarely talk about them. I think of Psalm 23 when David said that the Lord prepares a table before him in the presence of his enemies.
    I do not believe that demons can possess our spirits but can affect our minds and flesh so strongly that our nervous systems can react in a way that expresses the evil and fearful character of the demon personality and I believe that we always have a choice whether or not to give in to their attempts to control us. Yes, the Bible says resist the devil and he will flee. What if we don’t resist. Yes, the the Bible says where the Spirit of The Lord is there is liberty. What if we don’t have liberty, what spirit is there instead? A fruit of the Holy Spirit is self control. What if I am out of control? These are questions that require discernment. It is awful to be told you have a demon when you don’t and it is awful to be told that you can’t have a demon because you are a Christian. It is doubly horrible to be a Calvinist and not believe that Christians can have a demon because if you know that you do have a demon then you fear what your predestination is. 🙂

  116. dee wrote:

    As I turned a corner in the dark house, a head shaped, luminescent object came floating right up to my face and I screamed bloody murder…. It was simply one of those mylar balloons which had lost some air. The moon was shining through the window and caused it to glow a bit and the heat was blowing and wafter it in my direction.

    Dee, you’re not the only one to be “haunted” by balloons. There was a classic, and hilarious, story that made the rounds on the internet years ago: “The horror of blimps.” (Warning: a bit of strong language):

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=160851

    Good for a laugh when you’re not the one experiencing it.

  117. Beakerj wrote:

    A) I practise mindfulness meditation, where you bring your concentration onto simple things in the here & now. Not at all sure how this can result in demon possession. Just putting that out there. You don’t ‘empty’ your mind in any way with this, it’s all about focus. Very helpful to me & my mental health.
    B) Does MH’s exorcism ritual have any roots in catholic/anglican/other historic procedures? I’m just wondering where on earth they got that wording from….apart from too much popular fiction.

    I have seen this practice taught two different ways, the licensed therapist way where the mindfulness exercise is to focus on the present to ground when people are having flashbacks, very effective and I have never seen any ill effects from it. I have also seen non licensed ‘counselors’ turn the exercise into a eastern religion ritual with taking in spiritual forces for relaxation and expelling the energy into the energy field of the world etc. the meditation part isn’t about bringing to the present and grounding an individual but trying to have a spiritual experience by connecting to the ‘energy field’ or something. in those cases I personally noted a higher level of unstability and often suicidal ideation. that is not scientific study, just what I have personally witnessed in both being a client and then later volunteering in the mental health services programs

  118. @ sam h: the second thing you describe has *nothing* to do w/the actual practice of mindfulness. People might call it that, but it is something else entirely.

    Like you, I think the 1st (drawn from Buddhist practice) is helpful. But the 2nd – sheesh.

  119. May wrote:

    I could not be more HORRIFIED that a seminary has hooked up with Mars Hill. It’s a CULT for Pete’s sake! Have they not read/ heard the stuff MD has come out with over the years? The devastating testimonies and stories of victims? The account of changing the church polity and firing elders, all arrnaged to amass yet more power onto Mark the Powerful One?

    Guys, I’m in the UK. Can you tell me, is this Western Seminary a reputable one? And what does Don Carson have to do with it?

    I doubt seriously if any Christian parent from Seattle would send their child to Mars Hill. Very recently their was a school shooting at a Christian university in Seattle and being a real Christian university the shooter was very quickly stopped by a young man that was willing to die if necessary that tackled and pepper sprayed a heavily armed deranged man. there was only one fatality and the shooter was very heavily armed with lots of ammunition he had visited columbine school to get a feel for how murdering innocent people is done. it received national news headlines, especially the part where the TRUE Christian Dean went on tv and prayed for the victims the school and shared what the young man did with no regard to his own welfare. See almost everyone in this area wants to have their sons and daughters attend Seattle Pacific University where they know that even in this turbulent world real Christians care for others, are clothed in humility, and sound doctrine is taught.
    Gooooooooooooo SPU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/shooting-seattle-pacific-university/ngFqS/

    http://www.kirotv.com/videos/news/video-spu-president-talks-about-shooting/vCc7m4/

    http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/spu-shooting-hero-jon-meis-releases-statement/ngG9x/

  120. when I saw the post on the procedure for demon trials I was shocked because aside from the lively discussion on demons and deliverance I have been following here, people should look at this in light of it being used in the hands of a self-serving manipulative person who is trying to keep his empire growing and keeping total control of people.

    here is what I found out shortly after moving here and asking about a Acts 29 church right down the way from my house. largest attendance of any church in town. to become a member you have to meet with the pastor/elder/team leader, whatever they call the guy with a lot of power over you and confess any past sin in your life. pastor guy takes notes.

    then if you are a problem or have unrepentant sin, they use the 'biblical' way of dealing with it. confront you on it, if you repent restore you, if you don't they tell it to the church, all of it. it's blackmail. one guy I know of had the ***** (ed) to quit the church anyway and his sins were told to the congregation and he was shunned and then we all heard all of his confessed sins in the coffee shops, the gas stations, you get the picture. no one wants to talk back or say anything negative against the church leadership because they don't want their lives ruined.

    the petry's went public with things that were done to them, but they didn't have skeletons in their closets. I believe there is a whole lot of abuse going on at Mars Hill that we will never hear about because Mark Driscoll will tell people the sins of those accusers of his. people coming from promiscuity or the drug sect who have since turned their lives around and have great jobs are facing having their lives destroyed by something they confessed in confidence (they thought) to a person portraying himself as a servant of Jesus and God. Mars Hill has a copy of the sins of the person they put on "demon trial".

  121. sam h wrote:

    Mars Hill has a copy of the sins of the person they put on “demon trials”

    Just like Scientology Auditing Records.

  122. Hester wrote:

    Why did I read this thread about demons right before going to bed? *facepalm*

    Join Calvin & Hobbes hiding under the bed…
    “Why do we have to talk about things like that at NIGHT?”

  123. Eagle wrote:

    Pastor Upset Over Disney PIXAR’s Movie, “Up” Have you heard? Pastor Deacon Fred attributes demons to more problems!! :-p

    When all you have is a Spiritual Warfare Discernment Hammer…

    P.S. “Discernment” originally meant the ability to see beneath the surface and understand the reality of a complex or obscure situation. Not “SEEing Things” like Demons and Witches under every bed.

    P.P.S. It’s LARPing without admitting it. Or living in a Frank Peretti novel as the Christian Spiritual Warrior Hero and finding it all Very Exciting.

  124. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Discernment” originally meant the ability to see beneath the surface and understand the reality of a complex or obscure situation.

    As far as I am concerned it still does mean that. I once heard somebody say that satan cannot create anything; he can only distort things that already exist. I thought that was a good idea, and this discernment thing in the way they are using it is certainly a distortion of a good thing.

  125. sam h wrote:

    here is what I found out shortly after moving here and asking about a Acts 29 church right down the way from my house. largest attendance of any church in town. to become a member you have to meet with the pastor/elder/team leader, whatever they call the guy with a lot of power over you and confess any past sin in your life. pastor guy takes notes. then if you are a problem or have unrepentant sin, they use the 'biblical' way of dealing with it. confront you on it, if you repent restore you, if you don't they tell it to the church, all of it. it's blackmail.

    Thank you for this chilling information. No wonder it has taken so long for those involved with Mars Hill to start speaking out.

    We need to scream this from the rooftops to shield unsuspecting individuals from getting caught in the MH web. Hotel California is now playing in my head.

    Looks like Mars Hill Church/Acts 29 and SGM have more in common than I realized. Collect dirt on members and then use it against them if they step out of line. This makes me really ANGRY!

  126. Thank you for your confidence in your Roman Catholic friends. My spiritual director is a priest who is also an exorcist for our diocese. He says they check everything out, psychologically, family doctors, friends, before they go the exorcism route and very rarely is a person actually possessed.

    But he does have some amazing stories. . . @ Nancy:

  127. sam h wrote:

    then if you are a problem or have unrepentant sin, they use the ‘biblical’ way of dealing with it. confront you on it, if you repent restore you, if you don’t they tell it to the church, all of it. it’s blackmail. one guy I know of had the ***** (ed) to quit the church anyway and his sins were told to the congregation and he was shunned and then we all heard all of his confessed sins in the coffee shops, the gas stations, you get the picture. no one wants to talk back or say anything negative against the church leadership because they don’t want their lives ruined.

    I would love to do a post on this story. It is particularly relevant since it is an Acts 29 church. From what I can tell, this is emotional blackmail and It is despicable.

    You know what I would say if I was asked to confess all my sins to a pastor like that? “You start…..”

  128. sam h wrote:

    Mars Hill has a copy of the sins of the person they put on “demon trial”.

    It would be worth knowing when this “demon trial” nonsense began at MH. My primary concern with it is simply that it plain wrong in itself, on so many levels. But I would be interested to know whether its introduction correlates with a time in MH’s history when Fiscal’s need for controlling tools increased sharply.

  129. dee wrote:

    You know what I would say if I was asked to confess all my sins to a pastor like that? “You start…..”

    A perfect response, Dee! Since elders are not to lord it over the flock but to set an example in word and deed. The elder who will not is disqualified thereby.

  130. Funniest Story of the Month Award!!!

    JohnD wrote:

    Dee, you’re not the only one to be “haunted” by balloons. There was a classic, and hilarious, story that made the rounds on the internet years ago: “The horror of blimps.” (Warning: a bit of strong language):
    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=160851
    Good for a laugh when you’re not the one experiencing it.

    That is one of the funniest stories I have read in a long time. Thank you.

    Folks-if you need a laugh, this is an hysterically funny, true story of a man and an indoor blimp!

  131. @ Deb:

    Totally agree. But they probably did not make up this confession thing out of thin air. When I was in RCIA and planning to convert to catholicism one of the requirements was to confess to the priest all the sins of one’s past (including protestants who thought they had handled that the protestant way in the past.) I did not hear of any instance, however, in which that information was misused at all.

    I am thinking that this blackmail thing is another distortion of something (confession) which in other hands might not be bad at all. Like the exorcism scandal. There do seem to be people out there who can handle these sorts of things, like some of the older liturgical denominations, but for sure not Mars Hill.

  132. Deb wrote:

    Looks like Mars Hill Church and SGM have more in common than I realized. Collect dirt on members and then use it against them if they step out of line.

    Deb, reading that story of the woman who was involved with Mars Hill right from the beginning, and then ended up having an exorcism forced upon her (and is understandably still suffering after all that spiritual abuse), I was struck by the many, many similarities between MH and SGM. Things like, Bible studies ceased studying the Bible and had to simply go over the previous week’s sermon. Even when it was the ridiculous situation of an all-female group of singles (with one poor married woman) having to study the sex series ‘Peasant Princess’. When they asked if they could simply study the Bible they were told no, they might stray into incorrect doctrine (that fear and control over doctrine is a characteristic I have noticed in all Neo-reformed cultures, including ones close to home). Also, the practice of shunning. The tendency, within marital counselling, to blame the wife for not being submissive enough. Straight from SGM.

  133. Are these 2 schools accredited? Where do they get their funding? Something going through my long ago thoughts on Corban. Will try to check it out.

  134. @ sam h:
    Hmmmm, very interesting, I never thought about that. I know a pot smoking Mars Hill pastor. I always figured Driscoll must know about it and be ok with it, but what a great thing to hold over his head were he to ever defect. I mean, how many other churches would hire him. In just two weeks marijauna will be sold legally in our stores so I’m sure that grip would be weakened.

  135. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    My response would be “In the eyes of the Lord, I have no past sins.” and then just sit there.

    Did I mention I’m confrontational and snarky?

  136. Anna wrote:

    @ JohnD: This whole topic reminds me of the song “99 Red Balloons”.

    1) How so?
    2) English lyrics or the original German?
    3) If the German, are you aware of the KGB connection?

  137. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    In the Amplified Bible version that it is a gift to discern whether an utterance is from a good or evil spirit. Well, I’ve heard enough to put Mark Driscoll on the stand. Coming from me that is not a judgement on a person’s standing with God since I do believe that anyone can be demonized.

  138. Eagle wrote:

    Pastor Harry Hardwick on the Hobby of Being a Homosexual. Have you heard Landover Baptist has found demons in your body!!

    Body Thetans?

  139. @ Nancy:

    When I read your comment, it struck me that both Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney have a Catholic background. Looks like they have taken the confessional to a 'whole nutha level'…

  140. numo wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: I believe it predates the book you mention. I know for certain that it was around in 1972; maybe before that.

    Regardless of Who’s on First, the “Ugh in the Argh” title of both is very suspicious.

    Like all the FRP games with “Ugh & Argh” titles after the success of D&D.
    Or the “Ugh, the Argh” titles after White Wolf scored a hit.

  141. Patti wrote:

    a gift to discern whether an utterance is from a good or evil spirit.

    I tried to google that, bible gateway and such, and are you talking about 1 John 4: 1-3? Just asking because that passage in the NIV does not say anything about a gift, per se, not as I understand spiritual gifts. If there is another passage I would like to read it, to be sure to get my own thinking squared away if necessary. Thanks.

  142. @ Nancy:
    1 Corinthians 12:10 Amp
    10 To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ([c]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues.

  143. Anyway, back home for the day and I’m going to have another go at digging the garden – in the hope that the afternoon will remain midge-free. But I’ve read through the comments and I feel I must correct an imbalance to which I myself have contributed.

    We have spoken of the lunatic fringe of charismatic, or even simply of non-cessationist, christianity. But it would be quite wrong for “lunatic fringe”, “weird” or “naive” to become interchangeable with “charismatic”. They are not remotely the same. Accepting that the label “charismatic” may very well be less loaded in the UK than it is in the US, there is nevertheless an eminently stable and measured charismatic community as well as a lunatic fringe.

    It’s not just naivety that draws people into pursuing more of God than teaching alone. It’s the story, told throughout the bible, that there is more to God than teaching alone. Also, there is more to preaching the good news than preaching alone; it remains God’s desire to “confirm the word with signs that follow”. Just as the evangelists based in the middle east whom I quoted earlier in this thread have done, it is possible to develop a mature theology that supports an ever-broadening experience of what God can and does do, as well as an ever-strengthening compassion for people and an acceptance that we don’t yet know everything.

  144. Caitlin wrote:

    My response would be “In the eyes of the Lord, I have no past sins.” and then just sit there.
    Did I mention I’m confrontational and snarky?

    And entirely biblical, Caitlin!

  145. @ Patti:

    Let’s pursue this a bit further. In trying to put the two statements together, 1 Cor and 1 John, in the one talking about a gift (like you said) and in the other making a distinction based on what sounds like something which is actually being said (not just perceived) is that consistent with people actually trying to talk to spirits (as per Mars Hill) or do you think these are two separate things?

    This has implications as to whether everybody could determine between spirits without any special gift or whether discerning spirits would be limited to those especially gifted to do so. It also has implications about what was discussed up thread about talking to alleged spirits and asking questions during a real or sham exorcism.

    Bear in mind, in my religious tradition we do not do any of this, so I have no axe to grind in this matter. I am trying to get a grip on some of the conversation here on this topic.

  146. @ Patti:

    It’s even briefer, and somewhat stronger, in the Greek. It just says “judging spirits”. It’s the same word as Paul uses in Romans 14, when he says Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

  147. @ Caitlin:
    @ Tim:

    Of course, Caitlin, good reply. As to confrontational and snarky? I never would have guessed.

    But Tim, you went further than that in your post to include present sins and future sins. There is a line of thinking out there which you might be referencing. It has been called hyper-grace by its detractors. I don’t know your thinking, of course, but you used their terminology, and that hyper-grace issue is a whole different thing. It was briefly touched on here recently in talking about Tullian T and whether that was what he believed which might have been part of his disagreement with TGC. I am looking at how to tie ideas together, that’s all.

  148. Tim wrote:

    And entirely biblical, Caitlin!

    That’s the best kind of snarky. The kind where you’re also right.

  149. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    So what do you think, Nick? Should people be trying to talk to spirits, or are we talking about separate issues or separate ways of knowing or what? This has practical application I am thinking.

  150. @ Nancy:

    And by the way, lest I seem too insistent and borderline obnoxious, I did tell you all I am a classic textbook ISTJ. That would be analytical pragmatic realism incarnate.

  151. @ Nancy:

    Apologies, Nancy, as you posted that comment while my nose was stuck in an online concordance (lest anyone remotely imagine I’ve memorised the Greek NT).

    The manifestation mentioned in 1 Cor 12 is unlikely to refer to holding a conversation with a spirit, nor is it likely to refer to deciding on and passing a sentence as appears to happen in the “exorcisms” at MH. Its meaning is much more like a guilty/not-guilty verdict. So, when most translations call it “discerning” or “distinguishing between” spirits, that’s fair enough. Which opens, of course, a whole nuther can of worms – because it implies that demons are not the only spirits that a believer should expect to encounter! Indeed, there are very straightforward descriptions of believers meeting angels in the NT, not least at the empty tomb. (Bet the angels were queueing up to get that gig!)

  152. A quote from the blog “UNREFORMED” that I an afraid might be an accurate prediction about Mark Driscoll. It seems I’m not the only one who fears that MD will eventually choose a violent end. Pray that he will not harm his family in the process!!!

    “Mark Driscoll is the president of the Mars Hill. Mars Hill as an organization owns close to 30 million dollars in real property. Mark Driscoll currently makes in the neighborhood of $900K per year annual salary (aside from book deals and royalties) and Mars Hill is HIS….!

    Some are calling Driscoll to Mathew 18 reconciliation… I am going to wager a prediction here and say Mark Driscoll isn’t walking with anyone in reconciliation ever until he is in danger of losing his empire and or his fortune. Driscoll is in the empire building business, not the kingdom building business, that much should be clear by now. He could care less about Joe Schmoe at the Federal Way campus.

    No… to hell with trust… you better just shut up and submit! Instead of slowing down, taking stock, repairing trust, mending fences, doing what needs to be done to bring Mars Hill back to a place of good standing. Driscoll wants to launch new churches in Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Spokane….

    Does that sound like a pastor who has been humbled? or is looking to reconcile?
    Many are saying that Mars Hill is coming apart…. starting to crumble… it may be crumbling…. it may be losing members fast….. It may be losing all of its talented leaders…. But mark my words, MARK DRISCOLL WILL NEVER STEP DOWN AND HE WILL NEVER CONCEDE!

    Driscoll will not step down,
    Driscoll will not yield
    Driscoll will not relinquish his throne.
    You’ll have to pry it from his cold dead hands.

    But because he just keeps trucking, Mars Hill will not implode.
    The only way it will die is a death of a thousand cuts”

    I agree with UNREFORMED: Mark my words!

  153. @ Nancy:

    I’m clearly not Nick, but I get… nervous when people seek out spirits. I’m of the “If God wants to talk to me, He knows where to find me” opinion when it comes to spiritual gifts like prophesy. One person hears a spirit that they think might be Godly and another person discerns where it comes from and perhaps a third person interprets.

    To me, the whole spiritual gifts thing is like an apostolic checks and balances system. No one person can divine the word of God alone- it takes a team. And that’s partly why I get wary about speaking to spirits. It’s so showy and fancy and powerful and oh-so-cool. I mean, I’m a huge fantasy fiction and comicbook fan and it would be AWESOME if I suddenly had power to see the future or something. So. Cool. And if I were influence-inclined, it would be a greeeeat way to get people over to my side (and filling my coffers) if I could dramatically cast out demons and see people’s pasts and basically have extra-sensory perception and psychic powers.

    I think about the Old Testament prophets. I can’t speak 100% for all of them, but they generally seem to be just doing their thing when God finds them. Daniel would lock himself in his room to pray. Isaiah was probably scarred for life. They weren’t being all showy and whatnot, they weren’t trying to become prophets. God made them prophets.

    So… while part of my worry comes from a “You never know *who* you’re talking to!” concern, a majority of it comes from an acknowledgment of the basic human desire to be God, not just His image.

  154. @ Nancy:

    I’m kind of with Caitlin here in that seeking out spirits for the sake of it is probably “not good time management”, as the saying goes.

    I think that’s where the discernment, or judgement, of spirits comes in. It operates, surely, so that, if and when believers encounter such a spirit, they can tell whether or not it is there in obedience to God or not. If it’s not, well, you almost certainly can’t trust a word it says, so common sense dictates that there’s no point talking to it. Same as when a salesman knocks at your door: you just quickly close the conversation down and get on with your life (though you may not need to rebuke or silence him in Jesus’ name). On the other hand, if it is an angel, then it’s sent out by God to help you in some way (as per Hebrews 1) and therefore it would be a good idea to pay attention.

  155. @ Nancy:
    Nancy,
    I do not get offended in the least when people question. If I had not been ‘whooped upside the head’ 22 years ago with my experience I would never have dug so deep into the scriptures about this subject.
    As for your question about the discerning gift. I think the Bible teaches that most of the time anyone can tell what is true or false if we listen well. We have the NT now which helps us out a lot so we don’t need to ask questions. I don’t think that asking demons their name is so bad, Jesus did it. I don’t think anyone should rely on any certain formula. We must be led by the Holy Spirit.
    I think that the ministry of deliverance from demons parallels the ministry of preaching and the ministry of healing. Jesus, being our example did each ministry in many different ways as He was led. I think that it is extremely important that we do not go beyond anything that He did. One example is that I cannot find any incidence where He laid His hands on someone to drive a demon out. It was the spoken word only. In one case He drove a demon out of a woman with His word then He touched her to heal her from the damage caused by the demon. I’m not going to make up any kind of reasoning as to why He didn’t touch. I don’t know where this holding down business came from with some ministers.
    I know I haven’t answered real well right now, I need to go, hopefully I will have more time later tonight.

  156. Oh, but for the record, I haven’t commented too much on what has been said here about Driscoll’s methods because I agree with the comments. I believe he is very wrong in what he is doing. And he may have renamed some of the tactics but he didn’t learn it in his own, it’s really not new.

  157. Ok…time to get serious. I think in the case of MH the demon trials are more about control, manipulation, and a way to introduce fear into the flock. In totalitarian regimes trials are ways of exacting and enforcing control. You sacrifice one or two individuals to get the message out of the community. Thus you create and inspire fear to keep control of the masses. Saddam Hussein did this brilliantly in Iraq and by holding mock trials or getting people to point out traitors you can whip people up into a frenzy. Of course in this case it’s not a dictatorship in Baghdad; it’s a dictatorship in Seattle. Demon trials are a way to get people to confront, confess, and be on one’s guard. People are on guard chasing each other, kept occupied that the flock in Mars Hill and other campuses are now controlled. It’s a way for Mark Driscoll to enforce his role.

  158. @ Eagle:

    “We can’t be disloyal now! Look at all the counterrevolutionaries in our midst!”

    “We can’t be disloyal now! Look at all the demons in our midst!”

    Same song, different verse.

  159. @ Deb: but that isn’t *at all* how confession works in the RCC. It is confidential, and people are not grilled – let alone blackmailed – in the way that these two cults have been doing.

    It really has nothing to do w/Catholicism. I believe Eagle’s comment about manipulation and control goes right to the heart of the matter.

  160. Nancy wrote:

    But Tim, you went further than that in your post to include present sins and future sins

    I have a post going up next week that explores this further. It’s not hyper-grace nor licentiousness. More Romans 7 and 8.

  161. @ Caitlin:

    ” wary about speaking to spirits. It’s so showy and fancy and powerful and oh-so-cool.”
    ++++++++++++

    I think the cage-fighting motif lost its lustre. md needed something stronger, more exciting, more attention-getting.

    and since there’s no chance MD would get in the cage himself, he found a way to be the ultimate cage fighter in the safety of his own office and the comfy of his own chair.

  162. elastigirl wrote:

    and since there’s no chance MD would get in the cage himself, he found a way to be the ultimate cage fighter in the safety of his own office and the comfy of his own chair.

    And clearly doesn’t believe what he’s shilling, or else he would be equally scared out of his mind at the idea of just calling up demons all casual like.

  163. @ Eagle:

    Yep! And Driscoll gets to prove that he has been endowed with ALL the gifts, which is all the more reason to follow him, according to him, who counseled with himself . . . he must exhaust himself.

  164. @ numo:

    I don’t know about regular confession for practicing catholics, of course, but in RCIA we were given a printed outline from which to make a list of those things to confess at the time of doing (I have forgotten the name of it) where we were to go back to childhood and dig up everything that was confessable and do it. As I understood, or thought I understood, this was a one time event for adult converts. I dropped out of the program for other reasons before doing this, so I only know what we were told.

  165.    __

    Da Green Moooochine: “Invaders from MarzHil, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Invaders From MarzHil is, arguably, a cult classic.

    huh…

      The unforgettable images in this MarzHil scary B movie – the proverbial big green pastoral guys, that melt demons that supposably rock your christian world, an experience that looks like an explosion in a religious bubble gum factory, yeah, the catacombed cult-like lair, the people falling into this religious pit, the dreaded implant, the little gold-like, tentacled, expressive “head”-intelligence Marzhil octopus-like MD guy in the fishbowl…all replaying themselves in my mind over and over…

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    Wake up! Sopy, Wake up!

    Whew! (burp)

    The MarzHil pastoral problem is now finally solved?

    What?

    –> BEWARE:  MARZHIL MEMBERS HAVE DEMONS!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02zHfK7IQ3M

    (grin)

    hshahahahaha

    Sopy
    __
    Cosmic trailer: “Invaders from MarzHil?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ury5b-qtI1Y

    ;~)

  166.    __

    MarzHil: “Have Bible Authority ℠, will Exorcize Demons…” ?

    huh?

    The concept, especially, of one’s own church members being taken under the control of evil demon forces is particularly disturbing.

    Yep.

    A curiously compelling proverbial popcorn religious movie?

    What?

    I think not.

    Krunch!

    Rebuking and casting out evil spirits, in the name of Jesus, is one thing, true,  – having a dialog with them is quite another thing entirely…would you like butter wit dat?

     Isn’t it important to understand? :

    A. Churches ‘are’ battling evil.  (check)
    B. “how” to properly battle evil biblically.  (check)
    C. Who Christ is.  (check)
    D. What Christ has done for you as a believer.  (check)
    E.  Who you are in Christ.  (check)

    check, check, testing 1, 2, testing, testing…

    Q. Who do the keys of ‘death’ and ‘hell’ belong to these Dayz?

    Q. Who sits upon the throne in Heaven interceding on our behalf?

    (hmmm…Jesus, last time I ‘check’d’…)

    -snicker-

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief:  ‘Invaders from MarzHil?’ – Da Movie: 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSm-W43B4Mc

    ;~)

  167.   __

    BlogBuz™: “#DemonsMeltz@Dawn® ?”

    hmmm…

    R U trouble’d by:

    habitual lying, 
    physically unhealthy, masturbation, 
    general lying, 
    pornography, 
    ongoing depression, 
    suicidal thoughts, 
    alcohol abuse, 
    drug use, 
    anger, 
    blasphemy, 
    violence, 
    self-inflicted injury, 
    rape, 
    incest, 
    eating disorders, 
    mental illness, 
    pedophilia, 
    bestiality,
    rape, 
    incest, 
    molestation, 
    or any other form of abuse (e.g., physical, sexual, mental, emotional), as they may apply?

    What?

    Da proverbial little gold-like, tentacled, expressive “head”-intelligence Marzhil octopus-like MD guy in the fishbowl…wantz ta know…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ury5b-qtI1Y

    Seattle’s finest need only apply?

    (inquire within)

    http://marshill.com/feedback

    Gump!

    (grin)

    hahahahahaha

    You’ve gotz to be (bleeping) kidding… [1]

    Sopy
    __
    [1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=832UnfMJyKs

    Intermission: “Flight of the Bumblebee”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QV1RGMLUKE

    ;~)

  168. A comment here got me wondering about Matthew 18 and shunning. Shunning is what so many churches do but does Matthew 18 actually say to shun? So I looked it up last night and no, nowhere is there anything about shunning someone. What it says is to treat someone as a pagan or a tax collector. So how is one supposed to treat a pagan or a tax collector? I went looking for commentary and here’s a great one (which also tells of another bad Mars Hill incident): http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2012/01/26/treat-them-like-a-tax-collector-reflections-on-matthew-18-church-discipline-and-andrew/

  169. @ Nancy: it is a unique situation – one for, as you’ve said, adults who are converting. And it’s a one time only thing. Either way, it *is* confidential.

  170. @ numo:

    You see…all this history and international relations pays off in the bigger picture. Granted I was learning history for different reasons. I never realized when I was at Marquette that I would be using this knowledge for a theology blog. Then on top of that I have the student loan debt of a third world nation state!! 😛 Oh well…

    I read all this about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill…and the more and more I learn I think we sent the Marines into the wrong geo-political state, and toppled the wrong dictator!! Today I’m more inclined to see the Marines storm Mars Hill Ballard instead of Baghdad. But dictators don’t quit they are brought down by force. Mark Driscoll will not leave power, someone, somewhere we’ll have to remove it from his cold, dead hands. Though I wish it were not the case.

    Privately I am hoping that Mars Hill runs afoul of the IRS, or the Washington Department of Taxation, or whatever you call it. With what James Duncan documented on the Pajama Pages of how Mark Driscoll broke financial rules with inuemont (sp?) I am waiting for him to be reported so this whole mess comes crashing down. For the sake of the people stuck there and to prevent those who lack discernment from getting drawn there…I keep hoping that Mars Hill will find itself investigated by the IRS. If it is…then I think its game over.

  171. @ numo:

    Yes, it is. I have no quarrel with the catholic sacrament of reconciliation. The similarity I mentioned at first deals with the idea of a requirement of a thorough confession to a priest (or elder at Mars Hill) prior to membership. And, the similarity of content of the information requested? required? at the time of that confession.

  172. Greetings, good Watchers.

    I have been lurking here for I don’t know how long, but I finally have to say something/pose some questions before I burst. And this seems like as good a thread as any in which to say it.

    Let me preface my questions by saying… I firmly believe that folks like MD and James McDonald others of their ilk are cads of the first water. I think of JM imploring his membership to do ‘sacrificial giving’, while he lives in a multi-million dollar mansion and supports his gambling addiction. MD makes close to a million in salary, plus whatever he scams on the side, and I believe he lives in a multi-million dollar home as well. Yet he wants people to go on food stamps so they can give more. These clowns should be tithing 99% of their income right back into their Church. If they weren’t flaming hypocrites, that is.

    Add to that all the very real abuse, physical/sexual and spiritual, that pretty much everyone knows about by now, thanks in no small part to the hard, persistent efforts of you folks.

    So here is my point. Given that these people (and there are many, many more, and probably always have been) are skunks and grifters, and it’s not exactly hidden under a bushel anymore, does not the congregation bear some responsibility? Responsibility for some enabling, perhaps? The congregations seem just comatose in the face of all this, and I just don’t get it. Are they really that cowed by these guys? Why not quit? It’s not like there’s any shortage of alternatives.

    Why do people put up with it? Why oh why can they not see that they are being fleeced and manipulated? I don’t want to give the idea that I’m blaming any victims here – absolutely not. But there’s been discussion about ‘discernment’ – where is it?

    Things are especially egregious in the case of Driscoll – who on Earth would voluntarily associate themselves with this man? All you have to do is watch a couple of videos to see that he is a bully and an arrogant, spoiled, snotty brat. But the Martians put up with it. I just don’t get it.

    [Full Disclosure: I am a Mere Christian, or a “none” as they say these days.]

  173. @ Headless Unicorn Guy: I meant the topic of being frightened by balloons. The lyrics speak of nations going to war over an large bunch of them, thinking that the enemy has attacked. Please don’t read too much into my post, it was just anecdotal.

  174. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Agree. In the Bible when Jesus deals with spirits all he ever says to them is “what are you?” and “bugger off!” (loosely speaking). He doesn’t summon them, he speaks to them as they are already manifesting.

    Also, as a salesperson, I object to being compared to a demonic spirit 😛

  175. Sopwith wrote:

       __
    Rebuking and casting out evil spirits, in the name of Jesus, is one thing, true,  – having a dialog with them is quite another thing entirely…would you like butter wit dat?

    I recall only once when Jesus might have had a dialog with them — and the only time he asked for a name– the Gadarene Demoniac. Interesting that although the Legion replied, Christ asked the MAN for his name. I suppose this one instance is where so many get the “taking names” thing. Of course, just prior to this, Jesus commanded the water and wind, and they obeyed Him. I wonder how many would-be exorcists can imitate Christ in THAT?
    BTW, I can recall ZERO cases where the apostles asked spirits for names (might have forgotten some).
    And 2 OT folks (Jacob and Manoah) who asked spirits for names. Both (who happened to be angels of the Lord) responded with “Why do you ask?”

  176. The whole story shows such ridiculous attempts at controlling the congregates. First, the pressure to become a member – the whining the members do because they ban non members from certain jobs, meaning the “fall” onto the membership disproportionately. Next, once members, the pressure put on couples to tithe, the intrusive questions, the stupid suggestions to go on food stamps (is this legal if caught?) so they can tithe more – the coercion. Next, the melt down all the women seem to go through. That is about the 20th story of a woman hitting a wall and needing others to help her, seems far too frequent there. Once the woman is down, now the “demon trials” begin. She is batters, coerced and defeated, so, it must be a demon, because it couldn’t be, you know, the church or anything. Also, the subtle pressure to have so many kids. 4 or 5 kids per family is alway the norm at these young “hip” independent psudo charismatic churches. Do all these women even want large families? Or are they just expected to have them? If pressured, they are beaten down with tones of kids they may not be able to handle well plus all the “wifely duties”.

    When these women fall apart, the church then blames demons?!? How about Jesus’ teachings on not tying up heavy burdens on people – wasn’t that the sin of the Pharisees?

    We could debate forever on what to do about the demonic encounters that Jesus dealt with in the New Testament, but in these situations, the church is trying to blame the outcome of it’s own pathetic teachings on demons.

    Mark would do better worrying about himself than others, he is in no place to lead right now.

  177. @ numo:

    Yes, I know they are not following Catholic protocol. They are implementing a form of confession that gives the leaders control over the flock.

    IMHO, most of the members are too naive to understand how they are being manipulated. No wonder these hip congregations are made up of mostly young folks.

  178. Nancy wrote:

    It has been called hyper-grace by its detractors.

    P.S. One big difference between hyper-grace and what I wrote, by the way, is that those folks apparently eschew confession of sin. I think confession is totally based on biblical precepts for believers. As I said, I have a post coming up next week that will lay out the basis for confessing sin but not fearing a failure to seek forgiveness when it comes to ensuring one’s salvation.

    Cheers,
    Tim

  179. Shannon H. wrote:

    So how is one supposed to treat a pagan or a tax collector?

    Good point. According to Jesus we’re supposed to invite ourselves over to their place for dinner.

  180. Roebuck

    Welcome to TWW. You ask a good question. Does the person who sits in the pew, paying money to Mars Hill, need to bear some of the blame? I have thought a lot about this question, as you might imagine. Here is where it gets difficult. Surely, if I was a member of such a church, and gave money to it, I would definitely be to blame because I am educated in this nonsense and have experienced church shenanigans up close and personal. You know “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    Many people come into a church, either as new Christians or Christians who have been immersed in a culture in which the pastor and elders are presented as God’s authority and men who sin only on minor things like eating too much of Bertha’s excellent peach pie. True confession: 15 years ago I would have found it hard to believe that a pastor would be a pedophile or cover up pedophile behavior because they were, after all, role model Christians. This is the narrative that is presented at most churches today. So people are trained not to see serious sin.

    Then, there is another factor. What happens when you have devoted 20 years to a church-given money, time, etc.? Then you hear your pastor is living in a $2 millon mansion and flying all over the place in the church leased jet. The individual has to cope with the very real feeling like “How could I have been so dumb?” I felt the same way but I was willing to chalk it up to a learning experience. Many others cannot even go there because they cannot admit that they devoted some of their life to a sham. So, it is easier to ignore it or excuse it than it is to look at oursleves and admit that we didn’t get it.

    Finally, many peopel are indoctrinated into believing that standing up against leadership is a sin-gossip, slander, disunity, etc. 

    I believe that this is what Jesus meant when he said that teachers will be judged more harshly.  You know what really gets me fuming??? When a church and its leaders abuse people until they can’t take it anymore and they walk away from the church. And these self righteous jerks then say “See, they weren’t really Christian to begin with.” They are responsible and will need to face the consequences of their despicable behavior one day.

  181.   __

    @ Dave A A:

    hey,

    hmmm…

      Demoniacs, nor the things they have frightfully ‘ingested’ rarely are broached in polite conversation. However when a intelligent malevolent manifestation is encountered, caution is considered quite prudent; Jesus, I know, Paul, I know…sorta thing. The whole removal ‘thing’ can be quite engaging, yet beneficial if handled properly.  Rejoice not that “they” are subject to you, rather, rejoice that your name is written in the book of life, yeah? The average Hebrew child in Jesus’ day was familiar with these kind of factal stories, every town, every provence had them, the four gospels are replete with their own records. However, kind folks today, much out ignorance, possibly lack of experiential knowledge, as it were, are unaware of them when their nefarious presence is made known. Thankfully, we have God’s promised Comforter, the mark He has placed upon us by His Son’s blood, and a surprising scriptural fortitude for anyone who has at length spent quality time in the holy scriptures, and focused devout quiet prayer.

    🙂

  182. Anna wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Agree. In the Bible when Jesus deals with spirits all he ever says to them is “what are you?” and “bugger off!” (loosely speaking). He doesn’t summon them, he speaks to them as they are already manifesting.
    Also, as a s***sperson, I object to being compared to a demonic spirit

    But I assume it was your use of the word s***sperson that landed you in mod!

    To be fair, not every s***sperson cold-calls people in their ain hooses, or illegally on the phone…

  183. Sopwith wrote:

    Rebuking and casting out evil spirits, in the name of Jesus, is one thing, true, – having a dialog with them is quite another thing entirely…would you like butter wit dat?

    Isn’t that what a Sorcerer/Summoner does?
    (Hope Pastor “I SEE Things” drew and enchanted his pentacle and containment circle properly…)

  184. @ dee:

    Thanks for you reply dee, and for the welcome.

    I had some of these dynamics in mind when I posed my questions. I understand the ‘psychology of previous investment’ aspect of it.

    And I can see how someone very new to the whole idea of Church and Christianity might not want to make waves.

    It still seems strange to me that there seems to be so little push back from the congregation. There seems to be something rather cultlike going on. I mean, the internet is full of ‘how to tell if you’re in a cult’ checklists, and these outfits sure seem to tick most of the boxes.

    I wouldn’t so much ‘blame’ the congregation for MD and friends. I just wonder where the outrage is…

  185. numo wrote:

    @ elastigirl: I like your wording re. The Comfy Chair…

    “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!!!!”

  186. dee wrote:

    You ask a good question. Does the person who sits in the pew, paying money to Mars Hill, need to bear some of the blame? I have thought a lot about this question, as you might imagine.

    Well, in Manly Wade Wellman’s weird fiction, there’s a principle of black magic that if you watch or attend a magical working and make no objection to it (even privately), you’re participating in the the working (and whatever it invokes) and given it power over you.

  187. @ roebuck:

    My two cents? The people who join and stay are generally go-along-to-get-along types. I was not a member of Mars Hill, but I did belong to a college Christian group that took a nose dive for a while. Being snarky and confrontational, I didn’t put up with it and told people exactly what I thought when they asked me about it. Others stuck around because either they were benefiting (yes, people benefit) or they agreed with what was happening. Now I’m one-eye-open-at-all-times and my friend who was a “not as outspoken” ended up having to escape another church mentioned frequently here led by a MD. Now her eyes are open.

    Basically, I think dee’s answer is right on, but let’s not underestimate the power of “It works for me.”

  188. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Sopwith wrote:
    Rebuking and casting out evil spirits, in the name of Jesus, is one thing, true, – having a dialog with them is quite another thing entirely…would you like butter wit dat?
    Isn’t that what a Sorcerer/Summoner does?
    (Hope Pastor “I SEE Things” drew and enchanted his pentacle and containment circle properly…)

    Bit of Shakespeare…

    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep!

    Hotspur: Why, so can I! And so can any man;
    But will they come when you call them?

  189. @ Caitlin:

    Thanks for your reply, Caitlin.

    I guess the inertia of the situation, especially for long-time members, is a powerful element. I expect, too, for long-time members, that the knowledge of these scandals comes along so gradually and so filtered/modulated/spun by the top dogs that it’s like the old ‘frog in the pot’ thing.

    Still, it’s hard to see and not want to scream ‘wake up people!”

  190. @ roebuck:

    Yep.

    I talked about this with my friend, and I came to a realization though. Screaming wake up people (or even being as gentle and kind as possible about it) is pretty much useless, because these are issues that get right at the heart of people and in places that only God can work. So the best we can do is to continuously say “I don’t agree with that” or “My church doesn’t do that.” and wait. Much like people escaping an abusive relationship, frankly.

  191. @ roebuck:

    I think too there is an element of the culture of the place. I had a conversation with an older woman at my church whose children and grandchildren are members of one the churches that has been discussed on this blog. She said nothing about the doctrine or teaching of her offspring’s church but defended it based on size, percentage of young people, oratorical skill of the preacher and music style.

  192. @ Caitlin:

    Let’s also remember that people do benefit from cults as long as they cooperate. I see so many parallels between Sovereign Grace, Mormonism and Mars Hill Seattle. My wake up call occurred with Mormonism when I was a 20-22 year old college student. I think the collective Christian church needs to repent and also take ownership of situations like Mars Hill or SGM. Why? They are often in their own world plowing ahead consumed with growth, growth, growth, and numbers, numbers, numbers. People fall through the cracks, can’t get involved and one of the basic needs in life is community. I live in the Washington, D.C. area and I have to tell you this is the loneliest place I live. In one year alone almost all my friends moved…this city is that transient. And I also think the reason why organizations like Mars Hill thrives in Seattle, or SGM in Washington, D.C. is because they feed on people who move here, are in the military and stationed here, attend college here, and in their need for community get involved. That was how I got involved in the Mormons in Montana. One guy I knew who was involved in a Sovereign Grace church struggled with his job in New Jersey and was lonely. He struggled to find community. So here he is in DC looking for community and along comes community. I place the blame on the greater Christian church. It would be fascinating to find out if the growth of mega churches has fed all these neo-Cal cults.

  193. Caitlin wrote:

    Others stuck around because either they were benefiting (yes, people benefit) or they agreed with what was happening.

    If they were “benefiting” or not is an interesting concept. My thinking is that a lot of people may be getting “something” out of their church experience. Most of us do things to get something in return. Whether what we are getting from a church relationship is of real benefit or not is another question.

  194. One thing that gets me is that so many of these people who attend SGM, Acts 29 and Mars Hill like churches are consumed with doctrine. Its always doctrine, doctrine, doctrine. Yet they can’t realize the false doctrine in front of their face. The false preachers who are attention hungry whores. Or the way the community abuses the Bible. For a people group who claims to hold the Bible in high esteem theh have shown…time and time again how they take the Bible to an all time low. Despite the fact that many Neo-Cals have made the ESV an idol many can’t even practice or know basic scripture.

  195. @ Eagle:

    Oh yes, I think they DO benefit. I think a lot of people benefit. My friend thought that the church run by a Mark D who isn’t based out of Seattle was the best thing she ever saw until it very suddenly wasn’t. Then she started seeing how “being challenged” for her was turning out to be “spiritual abuse.” But if you didn’t get some sort of sense of belonging, why would you stick around?

    And to Bridget, at least some of the benefiting I’m talking about is a much more human sort of benefit. I bet the guys chosen to be community group leaders given doctrinal control over a group of people, some older than themselves, benefit a lot.

  196. roebuck wrote:

    I firmly believe that folks like MD and James McDonald others of their ilk are cads of the first water.

    I am LOVING the cut of your jib Roebuck! These are exactly the kinds of words we need to employ for these charlatans.

    Molly245 wrote:

    Mark Driscoll currently makes in the neighborhood of $900K per year annual salary (aside from book deals and royalties)

    Is this really true? Is that well documented? My jaw just dropped. He earns HOW much? How does the church have that much money to pay him in the first place? Colour me appalled.

  197. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Take that idea away from black magic specifically and apply it to everything that comes down the road, and that used to be a common idea. A common ethic, actually. That silence gives consent, and to remain silent in the face of false doctrine or bad practice or blatant sin was to be an enabler of it (to use current terminology.)

    Now we have a lot of mixed signals, in that we urge people to protest this or that, but we have a fit if somebody has an opinion which differs from the one we want them to have.

  198. Beakerj wrote:

    I am LOVING the cut of your jib Roebuck! These are exactly the kinds of words we need to employ for these charlatans.

    Thanks Beakerj. These characters are like telemarketers – they know they’re vermin, but they count on their victims’ normal human politeness. I’m polite as can be… to a point.

    Molly245 wrote:

    Mark Driscoll currently makes in the neighborhood of $900K per year annual salary (aside from book deals and royalties)

    Is this really true? Is that well documented? My jaw just dropped. He earns HOW much? How does the church have that much money to pay him in the first place? Colour me appalled.

    Yes, it’s amazing, isn’t it? How is living this lavish lifestyle, while whining to your congregation that they’re not giving enough,
    even tangential to Christianity?

    The whole megachurch/celebrity pastor thing doesn’t seem quite right to me, in any case…

  199.   __

    Beguiled: Into The 501(c)3 Church Proverbial Predatorial Precipice, Perhaps? 

    Roebuck: “…does not the congregation bear some responsibility? Responsibility for some enabling, perhaps?”

    Dee “Does the person who sits in the pew, paying money to Mars Hill, need to bear some of the blame?…Surely, if I was a member of such a church, and gave money to it, I would definitely be to blame because I am educated in this nonsense and have experienced church shenanigans up close and personal. You know ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’ ”

    hmmm…

    501(c)3 Church owners have a message for churchgoers this year: Show me mo money…

    -snicker-

    What?

    Yeah, it is not just movie houses raising da price of ad-mis-sion , churches too, are getting into the act.

    hmmm…

    Since church is now classified by all apparent visual indications, if it quacks like a duck, kinda thing…as ‘entertainment’ -low lights, loud music, coffee bars, snack counters, eateries, book tables, gift shopps, etc…

    huh?

    Well, lets see, a standard U.S. movie fair is about eight bucks per person, popcorn and a drink about another ten or so. So figure give or take a twenty spot as the price of admission…

    Krunch!

    Shouldn’t the same sentiment be assigned to the average 501(c)3 darkened hall rock n’ roll church service ‘business’ as well?

    hmmm…Something to possibly consider?

    What?

    (…just don’t scream, ‘fire’… )

    *

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this -to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained (ed. unspotted, unspoiled) by the world. ~ James, in the New Testament Scriptures.

    hmmm…didn’t say nott’in bout pay’in fo no big profusely present tense proverbial pastor’s pad…

    (bump)

    Hey Christian, Do U feel ‘Taken’? ( background noise: present polite ‘pastoral’ perspective …”it wasn’t personal…”) [1]

    (sadface)

    Sopy
    __
    [1] Gate-ing… to another Church Universe: : “hmmm…These are plainly, ‘the wrong people…’ ”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HyD3aKFTkA

    ;~)

  200. Beakerj wrote:

    Molly245 wrote:
    Mark Driscoll currently makes in the neighborhood of $900K per year annual salary (aside from book deals and royalties)

    There is no evidence that statement above is true.
    A cursory Google search provides no factual backup either.
    So it would probably be best if folks stop making these statements which are pure speculation because it just gives the Driscoll apologists ammunition. There is plenty of evidence out there of Driscoll’s abuse and malfeasance. There are plenty of articles online pointing to plagiarism and misappropriation of church funds to promote his sex book; we don’t need to stoop to speculation and innuendo regarding what he may or may not be paid. Those facts will be disclosed soon enough, and I will venture to say they will very likely be posted on TWW first!

  201. @ Nancy:

    Thanks for your reply, Nancy. I’ve been learning a lot from your posts here over these last few months that I’ve been lurking…

    I guess we have to recognize that there are many different dynamics contributing to the situation.

    I suppose it is only by the Grace of God that I was never sucked into a cult-like situation – I was actively recruited for a couple, back in the early 70’s, but was savvy/lucky/innocent enough to decline. Once you’re in…

    I wasn’t intending to be judgmental so much as honestly curious as to how it happens. You and several other folks hear have made some real good points, but it still seems odd to me…

  202. roebuck wrote:

    who on Earth would voluntarily associate themselves with this man? All you have to do is watch a couple of videos to see that he is a bully and an arrogant, spoiled, snotty brat. But the Martians put up with it. I just don’t get it.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. But why DO people put up with it? To start to understand that, I think you need to get out of the mindset of ‘church’ and into the mindset of ‘cult’. You need to start to understand the nature of cults and cult-like organisations. Because that’s what we’re dealing with here. You need to throw away any notion that cults involve in mass suicides and the like. They’re not all like that. They’re far more insidious.

    Have you read any of the SGM survivors site? The website contains many testimonies from people who left SGM churches. Many of them are still hurting after years, decades of spiritual abuse. That ‘family of churches’ has much in common with Mars Hill.

    People in these ‘churches’ are probably aware that they have chosen highly authoritarian churches – and as Nick once said, some people actually like that. It’s comforting. Many people like to be told what to believe, what to do. Stops them having to bother thinking for themselves (in the same way that many women lap up the complementarian stuff because it absolves them of much responsibility and from having to be leaders). People in these ‘churches’ believe that the church they have chosen teaches absolutely right-on, top-notch theology (and they pat themselves on the back for attending such a church).

    Another factor in these cult-like denominations is that at first glance they seem cool, appealing and attractive. They have ace music groups, state-of-the-art sound systems, charismatic worship. They have strong, charismatic leaders. (Mark Driscoll first earned fame as ‘the cussing preacher’ I seem to recall. His image of beer and swearing was seen as something shockingly cool and refreshing). Meanwhile, members are very friendly and welcoming. Everyone seems happy. The longer you stay, the more you get used to the culture and sucked into it. After a while you find yourself socialising more and more with other members, doing church things. The church becomes your life. After a time, the thought of leaving does not bear thinking about. You’ve invested so much of your time, money and energy into this place. Anyone who you’ve heard of that’s left has left has done so in mysterious circumstances and been shunned. You don’t want to be shunned. Besides, Pastor Mark (or his henchmen) know all about your shameful past and your recent sins – they got it out of you in small group or counselling. You don’t want that to come out. So eventually, even if you do want to leave, you’re trapped.

    Those people who have left, either willingly, or in many cases unwillingly (been fired, forced out against their will and shunned for being too questioning etc), show many signs that they still have a lot of Kool-Aid in their systems. Even the name of that website ‘We Love Mars Hill’ says a lot, in my opinion. The scales have not yet dropped from their eyes.

  203.   __

    ‘Religion’ Disconnected: “The SGM Apprentice?”

    Sopwith: “Rebuking and casting out evil spirits, in the name of Jesus, is one thing, true, – having a dialog with them is quite another thing entirely…would you like butter wit dat?”

    @ HUG
    : “Isn’t that what a Sorcerer/Summoner does?”

    hmmm…

    hey,

    No, I don’t think your suppose ta use Mickey’s absconded wand… (your mileage may vary)     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHTnJNGvQcA

    (grin)

    Sopy
    __
    cheep notz:
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exorcism_in_Christianity

    ;~)

  204. @ May:

    Thanks for your reply, May.

    You hit on a lot of good points. I’m beginning to feel as though there are a lot of things contributing to the seeming passivity of the congregations in these outfits. The element of blackmail is there, I’m sure. And the “psychology of previous investment” for sure. And shunning. And…

    Sure seems a bit, well, cultish…

  205. @ roebuck:

    It is often asked, Why do people stay in abusive churches?, and in this context, your own question is both interesting and a very good one. Having left an abusive church in which I was myself on the bottom rung of “leadership”, I have asked myself: to what extent was I victim (and Lesley and I were certainly treated on many occasions in a way that no secular workplace would tolerate), and to what extent was I culpable?

    I can’t answer for anyone else, either at MH or elsewhere. But there are probably some common patterns.

    By way of framing this, let me repeat a well-known phrase from 1 John which the Holy Spirit spelt out to me in exactly this context. For want of a better way to describe it, he – as it were – “read” the verse to me with the following inflection: If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In other words, God can deal with the effects of other people’s sin on my life; I just need to deal with my own. I am sure you understand that this is not the same as blaming myself for what someone else did, nor does it suppose that I “must have sinned as well”.

    I made a great many honest mistakes. Big deal – I’m still making honest mistakes, actually! But I can think of four specific apple-points that answer your question, Roebs:

     Jesus commanded us to love one another as he loves us, and to treat them as we want to be treated. I did not always do this. To the degree that I showed disrespect or disapproval towards fellow-believers based on the report of the CEO, I am responsible.
     The CEO preached on the importance of authority but never submitted to anyone himself. To the degree that I stood by and allowed him to live thus unchallenged, and applied a lower standard to him than I would to myself or anyone else, I am responsible. He himself claimed that in holding someone accountable you are not hampering but blessing them. I believed this to be true even at the time, and therefore I should have known better than to withhold that same blessing from him, regardless of how cleverly and/or aggressively rebellious he was himself.
     To the degree that I let the commands of leaders override my own conscience before God, I am culpable. From my earliest days as a Christian I declared to Jesus that I wanted no King and no Master but him, whatever the cost. I let men usurp his rule even though their claims to be speaking on his behalf were manifestly not the voice of the Shepherd. Most seriously, I let them paint before me a false and ugly image of Jesus himself, and thus, I was a party to building an abomination.
     To the degree that I did not stand up for our marriage, I am responsible. That would be true regardless of where we stand on the comp/egal divide because at the very minimum I share joint responsibility. But I repeatedly allowed Lesley to be overloaded with work that she should not have had to do, I allowed time that we should have spent together building our relationship to be swallowed by the demands of the church program, and I allowed myself to be spoken to like dirt in front of her, to her great distress.

    I hope that makes sense…

  206. Nick, that’s a very honest account.

    To my mind, the ‘sheep’ are far less responsible than the ‘shepherds’ and the shepherds’ allies and buddies – in the case of both Mars Hill and SGM we are talking about the New Reformed movement leaders. Piper, Dever, Mohler, Carson, Keller, et al. To varying degrees, these men have championed, protected and shielded both Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney. Why? Because it would appear that in their world doctrine trumps all.

    Roebuck pointed out that the dog on the street can see that Mark Driscoll is a foul-mouthed bully. But to these leaders, as long as the bully holds to the correct doctrine, nothing else matters. They have an awful lot to answer for.

  207. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Many thanks, Nick, for your heartfelt reply. I will read it again, but yes, it makes sense and is quite helpful.

    I have been ‘unchurched’ for a long time, to the point that I think I might be unchurchable. Maybe the Orthodox Church could put up with me, I don’t know. Other than the Church I grew up in (long ago, in a galaxy far awah), my involvement with churches (indeed, the Faith) has been mostly peripheral, as I’ve bounced around the country. So I’ve not felt the ‘hold’ that a specific Church can seem get on people.

    I guess I was asking my original question(s) more out of sorrow and exasperation than trying to ‘blame’ anyone. Your reply, and that of others here, have helped me in de-simplifying my thinking about this. Though it still makes me sad…

    I hope the midges allowed you to get something done in your garden. Here it’s mosquitoes, clouds of them. We’ll have midges soon enough, though… (we call them ‘no-see-ums’ here in New England).

  208. Also, the approval of the New Reformed leaders would contribute to people staying in these abusive churches. E.g.: “My pastor Doug Wilson can’t be that bad, can he? I mean, John Piper thinks he’s just great.”

  209. roebuck wrote:

    We’ll have midges soon enough, though… (we call them ‘no-see-ums’ here in New England).

    Commiserations – we can certainly see ’em here in Old Scotland because they form dense clouds, of up to infinity insects.

  210.   __

    Come on folks, Pastor Mark Driscoll can’t be all that bad, can he? I mean, Pastor Charles Joseph Mahaney thinks he’s just great…    🙂

  211. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Many thanks, Nick, for your heartfelt reply. I will read it again, but yes, it makes sense and is quite helpful.

    I have been ‘unchurched’ for a long time, to the point that I think I might be unchurchable. Maybe the Orthodox Church could put up with me, I don’t know. Other than the Church I grew up in (long ago, in a galaxy far awah), my involvement with churches (indeed, the Faith) has been mostly peripheral, as I’ve bounced around the country. So I’ve not felt the ‘hold’ that a specific Church can seem get on people.

    I guess I was asking my original question(s) more out of sorrow and exasperation than trying to ‘blame’ anyone. Your reply, and that of others here, have helped me in de-simplifying my thinking about this. Though it still makes me sad…

    I hope the midges allowed you to get something done in your garden. Here it’s mosquitoes, clouds of them. We’ll have midges soon enough, though… (we call them ‘no-see-ums’ here in New England).

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Commiserations – we can certainly see ‘em here in Old Scotland because they form dense clouds, of up to infinity insects.

    At least there’s no more than that. Reminds me of my favorite snow forecast (I live where there is a lot of snow in the winter). The weather people will say something like “tonight we expect up to 8 inches or more”. Think about that for a few seconds, and you realize that it pretty much covers anything from zero to infinity. They’re always right!

  212. In local news, the Beaumont Independent School District here in Texas called people at 8:30 to 10:00pm last evening telling them they were to be laid off….300 jobs lost….can’t afford to pay them anymore…..but they have a brand new state of the art football stadium…Welcome to Texas…. 🙁

  213. @ K.D.:

    I learned at Arroyo High School around 1970 that Football Quarterbacks and Cheerleaders are The Master Race and all the rest of us are Subhumans. And Football is a jealous god.

  214. Eagle wrote:

    One thing that gets me is that so many of these people who attend SGM, Acts 29 and Mars Hill like churches are consumed with doctrine. Its always doctrine, doctrine, doctrine.

    Purity of Ideology, Comrade.
    Purity of Ideology.

    Just ask any survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields about Purity of Ideology.

  215. Eagle wrote:

    @ Nancy:
    She might have well been defending the Mormon Church if that’s all that matters.

    At least the Mormons have a place in American History. They opened and settled a lot of the West; what has Mars Hill done that’s comparable? And will they last as long as the Mormons? MD might be a Joseph Smith, but will he have a Brigham Young who can turn a one-man cult into a self-sustaining religion?

  216. @ K.D.:

    Oh, KD, that is so sad. My daughter did what used to be as many of the right things she could to make teaching a success story for herself, graduate degree, dual certifications, long time on the job, good performance reviews. Now that has become the perfect road to unemployment, because people like her get paid more, and they are the ones now targeted for elimination. And the administrators tell her and others like her several times a year to get ready, because it may be this year or next year or the next, but pink slip time is coming. From the information she has, this seems to be all over, not just Texas.

  217. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    LOL….ROFL….What has Mars Hill done that is comparable? Forgive me guys I can’t resist! WEll The Mormons conqueerred an settled the west. Mark Driscoll has conquerred and settled the bedroom on a pornograghic set! ROFL…”Mark Driscoll Does Seattle!” LOL!!!!

  218. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    From my earliest days as a Christian I declared to Jesus that I wanted no King and no Master but him, whatever the cost. I let men usurp his rule

    Let me change just one word of that from “I let men usurp his rule” to “I let something usurp his rule” and there are millions of us who could tell that tale. And we write lists like yours, only the names are changed to protect whatever. “I somehow forgot along the way.” “I got so distracted with good/necessary/important things that I was wandering around in the woods for a long time before I even knew it.” “I got p. o.d with God himself and rather than solve it I just lived with it and it ate me alive.” “I made made some decision that didn’t seem all that off target at the time, but then I could not fix it and did not know what to do.” “Himself quit talking to me, or so it seemed, and eventually I just gave up.” “I made excessive compromises to accommodate my job, my spouse, my children, my friends, and then found out that I despised myself for that.” And on and on.

    I did several of those things. And he came and got me. Just like he said he does. Most amazing display of grace one could image. In the ultimate reality of eternity, when there is plenty of time, we can all sit around and swap stories, I am thinking.

  219. Nancy wrote:

    @ K.D.:
    Oh, KD, that is so sad. My daughter did what used to be as many of the right things she could to make teaching a success story for herself, graduate degree, dual certifications, long time on the job, good performance reviews. Now that has become the perfect road to unemployment, because people like her get paid more, and they are the ones now targeted for elimination. And the administrators tell her and others like her several times a year to get ready, because it may be this year or next year or the next, but pink slip time is coming. From the information she has, this seems to be all over, not just Texas.

    It depends on where you are in Texas..in Midland and Odessa ( Odessa is Ector Co. Schools) there are teaching positions that go unfilled. Oil boom. I had a former student teaching math in Midland, try and get me to come and teach 12th grade economics….but I’d have to move 600 miles to West Texas…..no thank you, I’ll stay retired….;)
    However, Midland is sending HR folks to Beaumont to recruit….

  220. @ roebuck:
    As to the whole internet thing, I know when I did time in the cult/church I was in, they fed an atmosphere of fear about reading ‘things’ on the internet that were just ‘trying to destroy God’s work.’ Congregants were discouraged from browsing the internet too much….

  221. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Bit of Shakespeare…

    😀
    This seems apropos, as well…

    “I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl.
    But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
    Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
    And thus I clothe my naked villany
    With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
    And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”
    – William Shakespeare, Richard III

  222. @ Nancy:

    Some districts in TX get $3,500 per pupil (average daily attendance) in state money; others get over $11,000 per pupil. And it has nothing to do with tax effort or wealth or poverty. It is the most unfair funding situation you could imagine.

  223. I was in college (a state university) in the early seventies. I went out on a date with a classmate who spent the entire evening talking about how his former fiancée had ‘inexplicably’ called off their engagement. Why oh why would she change her mind about him when he was such a great guy he kept asking and answered himself by saying it had to be demon possession. Caught up in the drama, the campus Christian group to which they both belonged had held an exorcism for her, an event the poor girl had declined to attend. I decided 1) not to see him again and 2) not to join the campus Christian group.

  224. @ Val:
    Yes, I very much agree with you, Val. mark Driscoll is hauling people in as if they need to be disciplined for having demons. It’s like he’s hauling them in a disciplining them for having a disease. We could discuss wll the different ways Jesus preached, healed and delivered. There are so many that it seems there is only one type of example for every incident. The common thread though that I see in The Bible? Compassion. Not condemnation.

  225. Eagle wrote:

    Privately I am hoping that Mars Hill runs afoul of the IRS, or the Washington Department of Taxation, or whatever you call it. With what James Duncan documented on the Pajama Pages of how Mark Driscoll broke financial rules with inuemont (sp?) I am waiting for him to be reported so this whole mess comes crashing down.

    THen all his friends will see it as confirmation of what they have been calling “Obama’s war on Christianity”.

    I think, MD and a few others (TD J, Steven F, Perry N, Ed Jr. come to mind) need to have a demon extracted themselves – his name is (Love of) Mammon.

  226. Your first confession allows you to receive the EUcharist worthily (what Paul said in the New Testament)@ Nancy:

  227. @ elizabetta carrera:

    I neither misunderstand what the catholic church does in first communion for adult converts, nor have I criticized the catholic church. I am not a catholic for entirely other reasons.

    What I said in my original comment was that the Mars Hill people, who are requiring the equivalent of this practice before membership, did not make up the idea de novo. They got it from somewhere, and I suggested that maybe they got it from the catholic church which does something like that. Then Deb noted that MD and some other fellow had catholic backgrounds, and so maybe that was indeed where they got the idea.

    How anybody can twist any of that into anti-catholic bias or such is way beyond me.

  228. Marsha wrote:

    Caught up in the drama, the campus Christian group to which they both belonged had held an exorcism for her, an event the poor girl had declined to attend.

    Good!

    I decided 1) not to see him again…

    Good!

    … and 2) not to join the campus Christian group.

    Good!

  229. Gus wrote:

    Then all [Park Fiscal’s] friends will see it as confirmation of what they have been calling “Obama’s war on Christianity”.

    Whereas all of us have been saddened by Fiscal’s war on Christianity.

  230. William Wallace

     I am very well acquainted with the writings of Bruce Larson. For example, do you know he claims to have been bitten by a demon. He also says that demons have written meesages to him on his bathroom mirror when he is taking a shower. He also believes that you must go from room to room in a preowned house to exorcise latent demons in each room. Apparently praying to get rid of a demon is limited to the four walls of a partciular room (8×10, perhpas?). Also, did you know that demons apparently can attach themselves to clothing i and furniture items that you buy second hand??? I am not a fan.

    Finally, I have had the opportunity to work with schizophrenice patients who are able to do the same things that the woman in the video was doing. My concern is we are overlooking the possibility of a psychiatric disorder. I have seen people who have claimed to have been exoriced of demons ony to develop their previous symptoms soon afterwards. I believe that anyone who is going to have a demon exorcised should first consult with a psychaitrist and medical doctor. I know the Office that deals with exorcism in the Vatican requires such examinations prior to them being willing to examine a potential “possessed” individual.

  231. @ Nancy: Not sure Nancy, I am no Catholic, but I have sensed some hostility towards it from you on other threads, it could be those combined with naming Driscol and the RCC in the same sentence.

    Both Driscol and Mahany were raised Catholic, both have Irish last names, but Driscol dropped out at about 12. Not sure about Mahaney? That said, these guys are running cults, not churches. They would appeal to any system that gives them power and control.
    The Demon Trial stuff is close to some peopl’s views (usually the fringe ppl) in Charismatic churches (that ancesteral demon stuff, for example, was a constant prayer go-to in my Charismatic days). But I have also noted Mark seems to legitimize his authority by appealing to his (supposed) superior Demon combat skills ( the I see things video, the supposed godly revelation of his wife’s high school tryst written from his POV as a huge betrayal towards him b/c she neglected to confess it, that whole story is a threat to his congregation – if you don’t confess, God will tell me and I’ll be mad!). That is a whacky way to convince others you are a legit. pastor/leader, but it works with ppl brought up in more superstitious/ demon-focused circles. Not very Catholic, more fringe Charismatic pew sitters with little to do but a need to feel grandious and/or significant.

  232. Val wrote:

    Not sure Nancy, I am no Catholic, but I have sensed some hostility towards it from you on other threads, it could be those combined with naming Driscol and the RCC in the same sentence.

    I certainly did not mean for it to sound like that or mean to give that impression. But if that is what I am doing I will quit using the word entirely. That is, since I have no idea how it sounds to other people I cannot just “do better” and had best back off of the whole idea. I come from a mixed protestant and catholic family history as well as a mixed protestant and catholic extended family, so the whole thing of what catholicism does and does not say or do is intermingled in my thought processes. I had no idea that I was giving offense to anybody. I appreciate your telling me this, Val, you have done me a good thing.

  233. So while I am talking about my offending people, I have no historical or family background with charismatic or pentecostal people. Nothing on any level of intimacy or unguarded conversation or such. Nada. The only even relatively close view of those traditions that I had was highly unpleasant and involved some next door neighbors when I was a child, and one experience when I played my violin at one pentecostal meeting as a young teen. But then, I began to “experience” strange and confusing things and came to the conclusion that the charismatics were right about some things, apparently. So I ask questions. No doubt I sound hostile, dismissive and whatever. I apologize for that and will also change my conversation–drastically–right now.

    But is there not something strange here, that we say it might be good to tear down some of the walls, and then to find out that we really ought to build them back up again in order to be able to live together.

    And is it not strange, I have noticed that those of us with backgrounds in various scientific fields can chat and share information and ask questions and get answers and be apparently open and comfortable in doing that, as long as it is scientific in any way, but when religion comes up we all get skittish and perhaps defensive and more than a little cautious, just in case. I am thinking that these may be two totally different approaches to information handling, and this may be part of the distancing that exists between science and religion. A distancing due to style, not just substance. I don’t know, just a thought.

  234. Nancy,

    I do not think it is anything you said or did that has raised this. More likely, from my reading and experience, it is hypersensitivity on the part of some of the readers and commenters here.

  235. @ Nancy:
    I see this too. I’m also on the science, quantitative side of the line. I’m quite willing to talk about things but also quite unwilling to divulge much in the way of personal details. The “inner/outer” topic distinction seems to be most controlling for me.

  236. @ An Attorney:

    Even so, if people are sensitive/hypersensitive there must be some reason behind that. It does not help anything to kick anybody in the shin, whether it is already bruised or not. I can do better than that and still be communicative. Really. Besides which, you are a mediator/lawyer with vast experience dealing with people. Based on what you have seen, I am thinking, I am pretty mild. But based on what I have seen of people when they are sick and their defenses are down, it can be really good to dial it waaaaaay back lots of times. I am going to try the latter approach and see what happens. In other words, I am going to “put on my white coat” psychologically in my own mind and be more MamaDoc than Nancy for a while and check it out. I really like these people, and I really profit from the free-floating information on this blog, and I really want it and all of us to succeed.

    Oh, and good morning to you. I am forgetting my manners.

  237. @ oldJohnJ:

    Every time you comment I am faced with the realization that what I do is “applied” science. Never mind it may be high tech or take a long time in school, there is still a fundamental difference between those of you who do “real” science and the rest of us. Thing is, I do not feel threatened by that. I just like hearing what you say. Just pointing out some of the good aspects of it all.

  238. @ Nancy:

    BTW, my family doc (spouse and self, also was my adult daughter’s doc until she moved) is a wonderful young woman who tends a little toward over diagnosis (better than the opposite!!!) and is fairly cautious in her treatment. She explains things well, and is quick to refer if appropriate. Her husband is also a doc, and 9 years ago was my doc, but our insurance changed. So now I see the better of the two!!! I have also argued her out of a diagnosis based on the appearance of symptoms over time, that causation does not go backward in time.

  239. @ Nancy:
    For what it is a worth, Nancy, the free flow of ideas is part of what makes this site so amazing. I don’t agree with very thing that various commentors say (yes, including you 😉 ), but I wouldn’t want anyone to pull back from asking questions or making observations. I learn a lot from all of you. And I have.come to really enjoy…and listen…to what you have to say. So please, carry on! 🙂

    You know, I was just thinking about this yesterday….how much fun it would be to be able to have a Wartburg gathering ….picnic reunion sort of thing….and get to know each other and just talk face to face…..

  240. @ Nancy

    Jeannette Altes wrote:

    what makes this site so amazing. I don’t agree with very thing that various commentors say (yes, including you ), but I wouldn’t want anyone to pull back from asking questions or making observations. I learn a lot from all of you. And I have.come to really enjoy…and listen…to what you have to say. So please, carry on!

    I agree! No sense in rewriting what Jeannette stated so nicely.

    I will only add that I, too, sometimes feel triggered or greatly upset by what particular people express on blogs. I believe I have many choices in response. The one most effective for me is to ask myself questions about those feelings and decide if, or how I might respond in a non-defensive way that will add to the conversation. It seems to me that you have a similar approach. FWIW I don’t think that silence is always the best approach. If someone is bothered by how someone else comments it would be good for the bothered party to express in some detail why they are bothered and to realize that others may have a complete opposite perspective for a legitimate reason as well.

  241. @ Bridget:

    I get that. I do think that some specific words may be triggers just as much as the idea expressed. I am going to test that theory and see how it works. Avoid certain words, try other forms of expression. It is no big deal and it is worth a try.

    In line with what you are saying about trigger/triggers/triggering, though, once upon a time I went through a period of rather intense anger about some things that were going on but which really were not my concern and did not impact me in any way. Eventually I realized that I needed to ask myself why I was so angry about it. In the process I actually uncovered an important but forgotten (repressed?) memory. Nothing tragic, and no reason that I can tell why the memory was not there at a conscious level all along, but it was not and it was the answer to why I was so angry about this other thing. That only happened once like that, but apparently stuff like that does happen, as well as the other stuff we have been talking about.

  242. Nancy wrote:

    Every time you comment I am faced with the realization that what I do is “applied” science.

    The “pure/applied science” distinction is not important. There is a continuum from the most esoteric theoretical aspects of science to engineering and medicine. In many cases a single individual works in large swaths of this continuum. The critical thing in these efforts is learning to evaluate evidence, especially when it is presented with statistical methods. This has a direct application to the conspiracy discussion under the Friday 6/27 post.

    My previous comment was directed towards the last paragraph in your 8:19 AM comment that I failed to include by clicking the wrong reply button.

  243. @ oldJohnJ:
    Interestingly enough, these kinds of criteria are also very important in the humanities – historical research, for example (when you start off knowing that there’s no way you’ll ever have *all* of the evidence available), in art connoisseurship – evaluating and establishing an attribution (artist, usually), period created, even narrowing it down to a specific time frame (1790s, for example) if there’s no date and no documentation on when a piece was made. (Of course, there are all kinds of scientific tools and analasyes done by art conservators, but I’m talking primarily about simply eyeballing a piece.)

    So while I am not coming from your field or POV, I think we all have some critical thinking skills and methodology in common.

  244. numo wrote:

    I think we all have some critical thinking skills and methodology in common.

    I think so too. And I think that is partly why some of this doctrinal and administrative mess that the Deebs post about rubs the wrong way on all sorts of people, often maybe before we think it through enough to explain why.

  245. numo wrote:

    I think we all have some critical thinking skills and methodology in common.

    I agree. I have a son with a history Ph. D. His critical thinking skills are impressive. In my comment to Nancy I was concerned primarily with quantitative skills which are particularly important in the sciences and also tend to make eyes glaze over in individuals not familiar with even simple statistics.

  246. @ numo:

    Let me explain a little here to make it clearer. Within the scientific community there is of course a pecking order of sorts. Let me describe it like this. Imaging this conversation: I am a real scientist and you are not. I am too, went to celebrity university for a gazillion years, work in a science driven field and have been elected to the academy of the fantastic. That doesn’t mean anything, I do research on something unpronounceable which only four people in the entire world understand and have a long list of published works. Well, yesterday I transplanted two hearts and one brain. See, I told you that you were not a real scientist.

    Now I told oldjohnj that I recognized his place in the pecking order (correctly so) and he graciously and gallantly said no matter, it is whether you can think statistically (I would have said whether you are at peace with probabilities) and we bowed/curtsied and left the dance floor.

    It really had nothing to do with any lack of appreciation for the intellectual rigors of other fields of learning. Most of us are really not familiar enough about historical research (somebody brought that up) to have an opinion that is even worth listening to. We totally depend on other people for that. And believe what they tell us. Thank goodness there are some of you our there. That is not the issue.

    Rather it was that within a certain style of information handling he is far superior to me, and I complimented him and he was gracious. Nothing more.

  247. @ Nancy: oh, I got that! There’s a pecking order in every field.

    For example: I worked at an archive that was part of a museum. However, we were not allowed to use the word in the name, or to publicly call it an archive, or to refer to ourselves as archivists. That’s because some people who had degrees in archival studies (as opposed to art/art history) were very put out that anyone not from *their* branch of studies would dare to use these terms.

    Go figure.

  248. @ oldJohnJ:

    I think that’s part of what goes along with an advanced degree in history. I have a graduate level degree in American history. I learned so much about critical thinking skills. Looking at and realizing all the different historical camps who views events like : The Great Depression, Manifast Destiny, Watergate, Lincoln Presidency, Civil War, Slavery, WWII, Women’s history, etc… teaches you there are so many different ways to think. For example you can take Richard Nixon and look at how different historians and biographers approach him. And when you study history you see that there is more than just black and white thinking.

    I think the way many evangelicals look down upon education shows. Its hard to be the in movement if you do not think black and white. Plus it seems while many get degrees from seminaries how many actually study and look at history through an academic lens. For example take Jonathan Edwards…how many people who tout him from John Piper , etc… have ever studied American history…and enough history to understand the context of Jonathan Edwards as well? I know Dever has studied ecclesiastical history at Cambridge and while that is impressive does he have the American history knowledge to understand the context of ecclesiastical history.

    As I see it that’s one thing one needs to remember when you study any branch of history…ecclesiastical, women, african-american, hispanic, urban, etc…

  249. numo wrote:

    Also, I’ve seen “hard” science people get all high and mighty about biology and the like

    Please be a little more explicit about this. What exactly to do you mean by “high and mighty”?

  250. numo wrote:

    Looking down on those in other scientific disciplines that are widely perceived as “soft science.”

    I suspected this was what you meant. However, I believe biology should now be considered one of the “hard” sciences. Genomics, DNA sequencing, provides biology with an all encompassing theory that connects the discipline with basic physics. It will take decades to work out all the implications of this. One example: the beginnings of the transition of classification from purely descriptive to DNA based can be seen in journals like SCIENCE.

  251. dee wrote:

    William Wallace
     Finally, I have had the opportunity to work with schizophrenice patients who are able to do the same things that the woman in the video was doing. My concern is we are overlooking the possibility of a psychiatric disorder. I have seen people who have claimed to have been exoriced of demons ony to develop their previous symptoms soon afterwards. I believe that anyone who is going to have a demon exorcised should first consult with a psychaitrist and medical doctor. I know the Office that deals with exorcism in the Vatican requires such examinations prior to them being willing to examine a potential “possessed” individual.

    I think that this verse speaks to the importance that we do not treat every everyone with the same method or medicine:
    And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

    Medicine did not work for me. I hate the word excorcism but I guess that’s what happened with me. As far as any different voices coming out of a person other than her own, that isn’t going to happen. A demon can’t make a human or animal body do any more than it is capable already. It just knows how to influence it to its full potential whether lowest voice or surge of adrenaline to make it appear stronger. If a demon could express itself without using a life form then why would it want a host.
    I also think about when Jesus himself was accused of having a demon. Obviously the accusers were just trying to discredit Him but I find it interesting that they thought they could be credible saying it even about someone who was not displaying any bizarre behavior.
    I also do not see anything wrong with trying medicine even when we suspect a demonic presence. Instant salvation from hearing the Word, instant healing or deliverance…all three are miracles. When I say that medicine did not work for me I mean it did not deliver me, but it did subdue me so that I did not hurt myself or others.

  252. oldJohnJ wrote:

    transition of classification from purely descriptive to DNA based

    The quicker the better. There has had to be right much going back and rethinking this or that based on current taxonomy.

    But I think there is a factor here that is not being considered, and that is, how big a deal is it actually to have the levels of educational pride of achievement (pecking order maybe) for the people who are actually involved. Is this a problem for them, the people involved? For example, the cancer treatment people with an onsite physicist in the radiation therapy department along with maybe 4 or so MD radiation oncologists. Is this an issue? Are they hostile? Not unless somebody forgot to make the coffee that morning. In radiology (my specialty) we work hand in hand with physicists and ourselves have somewhat more education specifically in radiation itself than, well, most dermatologists or so, and I never saw any degree of anything but mutual respect and lets all go out to lunch between all the people involved. I don’t know anybody who does not respect the physicist, for example, but I also note that when they (the physicists) get sick they go to the doctor.

    Just saying.

  253. @ Patti: Patti, people attributed many illnesses to supernatural causes in Jesus’ time. I think it’s important to look at the Scriptures in that light. (As Dee and others have already said.)

    I cannot imagine that God would impose a scientific understanding of the world on the writers of the NT, who would likely have been overwhelmed by it. He works with us where we are, and they were no exception. (i.e., the Bible isn’t an instruction manual and/or medical or scientific textbook, nor was it ever intended to be.)

    Sometimes diagnoses and treatment are not all we could wish for, you know?

    P.S.: I don’t expect that this comment will change your thinking on this topic, but I do hope you’ll take this and other responses into consideration. It might be that this is all more complex than any of us realize, no?

  254. Patti wrote:

    And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

    Here it is, all in one sentence; sick due to diseases, torments, possession, lunatick, palsy–and he healed them all. There is no way to say from this statement that everything is physical or everything is mental or everything is demonic. There is no way from this statement to say that either Jesus or the people of his day had any trouble believing that there were different diagnoses and different causes for different conditions.

    I have had go arounds at my church with people who want to say that Jesus did not cast out demons but only let the people think he did because that is what the were prone to believe. That whole argument, to me, falls to pieces in a lot of ways. First, it means he actively practiced lies and deceit with the people. And, he would have been doing it in the face of the evidence that the people were obviously not attributing everything to demons as in the passage above. So, who could therefore trust anything Jesus said knowing him to be a deceiver.

    The same people also say that Jesus did not actually do anything that could be called a miracle, no healing, no water to wine, no calming the tempest, nothing. But, he claimed that he did and that people should believe him at least for the works they saw him do. So at this point the whole scriptural testimony about Jesus falls apart if he did not do those things, and what then? He was a good teacher? No, by their criteria he was a deceiver.

    Here I stand: it is all true. Miracles, healing, driving out demons, walking on water. All of it. Our problem is that we don’t know what to do with all that and when and how and under what circumstances to do it, even if we did know.

  255. This is something Mars Hill would never read but it has some truth:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/30/megachurch-star-mark-driscoll-s-publishing-downfall.html

    I don’t understand when a Seminary becomes affiliated with a den if doctrinal and ethical controversy. Especially one that was founded on traditional Baptist orthodoxy. Do they want to be associated with all the theological questions Mark Driscoll has begged from detractors? I hope they have polemics defending plagiarism and cult like authoritarianism and whatever other skeletons are in Mr. Driscoll’s closet. I am sure there is more to come in the Mark Driscoll adventure, or bus trip.

  256. Nancy wrote:

    So at this point the whole scriptural testimony about Jesus falls apart if he did not do those things, and what then? He was a good teacher? No, by their criteria he was a deceiver.

    Yes. I like the way C S Lewis put it in “Mere Christianity”:

    I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

  257. @ Nancy:
    Yes, I agree.

    But on the other hand:
    For me, my experiences have just not yet been sufficiently explained to me by any kind of scientific explanation. Maybe I was schizophrenic or something and God instantly healed me from that???
    If Numo is correct, maybe God is just still meeting me as far as my intellect can handle like in the Bible days 🙂

  258. @ Patti:

    My point is that God does not limit himself to meeting us as far as our intellect can handle, nor did he in the bible days. He has met us way far more than our intellect can begin to handle in the incarnation and the resurrection. And that was “in the bible days.” Why limit our ideas about what God can or will do to what our intellect can handle? The bible say says that faith is the evidence of things not seen. Why say “I don’t see (understand) it and therefore it must not be true?” And people sometimes do that. Science does not limit itself to what is can already understand, it constantly pushes beyond to the next evidence, the next connection, the next previously unbelieved concept. I want to go much further than what numo seems to be saying.

  259. @ Patti:

    Again, I feel, what I am doing here is not evident. I am not arguing against what you said. I am using your original comment to argue against what I think numo said. And I am taking the opportunity to argue against what I see in too many ideas of little old ladies at my church who ideologically espouse some ideas which I think are not only untrue but which can damage other people for whom faith is more than that.

    Like Nick says, I hope this is helpful.

  260. Nancy wrote:

    @ Patti:
    My point is that God does not limit himself to meeting us as far as our intellect can handle, nor did he in the bible days. He has met us way far more than our intellect can begin to handle in the incarnation and the resurrection. And that was “in the bible days.” Why limit our ideas about what God can or will do to what our intellect can handle? The bible say says that faith is the evidence of things not seen. Why say “I don’t see (understand) it and therefore it must not be true?” And people sometimes do that. Science does not limit itself to what is can already understand, it constantly pushes beyond to the next evidence, the next connection, the next previously unbelieved concept. I want to go much further than what numo seems to be saying.

    I see it a little differently. The issues of spiritual faith start where intellectual knowledge ends, and those issues are the same no matter what our intellectual knowledge consists of. Thus God pushes us to these issues and uses whatever our scientific/etc knowledge is at the time to get us there.

    It is not that there’s a separation between faith and intellectual knowledge (we live in one reality) but that they each have their own reach. This can be seen in that a person can be very limited intellectually yet spiritually wise, and another can be an intellectual giant yet spiritually dumb.

    I suspect God didn’t push the early Israelites into greater intellectual knowledge because that would have gotten everyone off focus. The point wasn’t to expand intellectual understanding but to tell about Himself and to explain the meaning of faith, no matter what/who/where/when.

    Curiosity drives science as it does all healthy human pursuits. As you state, discovery is a building process. We humans need it to be so, or our knowledge isn’t sturdy/thorough. God made us that way and knew that we would eventually come to greater intellectual knowledge, and that we would find He Himself also there ahead of us.

    As I see it….

  261. @ Nancy:
    Oh yes, I realized that and I truly meant it when I said I agreed with you. I thought your comment was spot on. When I said ‘on the other hand’ I was merely trying to see it if I had agreed with numo. I seriously do try to look at all explanations but unless someone has actually walked through my experiences it is harder to grasp where they are coming from in their beliefs, because so far every explanation besides the simple Bible stories just seem to create more questions from me that no one can answer. The simple Bible explanations just sit so peacefully with me. They scare some people but they comfort me, and if that means I am too simple minded to grasp a modern day explanation then how can I change that?