mark driscoll allegedly adds exorcisims to his ‘spiritual gifts’

Exorcism at Mars HillMathew Paul Turner has the story, entitled,”Exorcism at Mars Hill: One Woman’s Story“.

MPT is an excellent, and very fair (he followed professional journalistic procedure and called Mars Hill and gave them an opportunity to respond) author, who has covered Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill for years. And the evidence is pointing toward a potentially tragic climax.

When will it end? Story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story.

The preponderance of evidence is growing and increasingly tilting toward what we already knew:

Mars Hill is a cult.
Mark Driscoll is a cult leader who claims supernatural powers of exorcism, psychic visions, and extrasensory perception.
Mark Driscoll’s message includes the subjugation of women and the chastisement of homosexuals.
Mars Hill attempts to shame any who leave.
Mark Driscoll has gradually consolidated power and diminished accountability to himself and his select cronies.

In my professional assessment, we are dealing with a cult, and one that is planting satellites around the U.S.

Read the story at Matthew Paul Turner’s site.

this week’s example of bigoted child abuse in the church: child sings ‘ain’t no homo gonna make it to heaven’ in church

Some people ask me why I spend so much time debating the issue of the legalization of same-sex marriage. Apart from the academic side of the intellectual argument, and the textual/theological argument, we often forget that the outcome of this debate and the charges and claims made during the debate itself hurt real people and adversely affects their lives. And I’m not just speaking about those gay individuals who are discriminated against on a daily basis, but I’m also referring to the children who are taught to mock and even hate by their parents from a very young age in church!

For example, watch this latest video taken from the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, the same town where a gay high school student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg IN, Billy (William) Lucas, recently took his own life apparently due to the anti-gay bullying he was receiving from his peers.

Listen to the lyrics of the song sung by the child, and watch the reaction of the adults in the audience.

The child sings the following lyrics:

I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
Romans one and twenty-seven (Rom 1:27)
Ain’t no homo going to make it to heaven.

Watch the room full of white adults stand and cheer and laugh in approval. The pastor nods and laughs. They are celebrating bigotry. They are celebrating their belief that gay Americans are going to burn in hell. One person is even heard to yell proudly, “That’s my boy!” And toward the end of the video, they have the child sing it again. Note that in the first performance, there is another child standing with the boy, and they boy ends after one verse, but in the second performance (see the 1:07 mark in the video), there is no second child, and the little boy sings the verse multiple times. This was no accident or lapse in judgment, it was an encore performance!!!

And what’s worse, from this point on, this child knows that every time he calls a gay individual a “homo,” he’ll have the cheering support of his church behind him. Remember, he’s a child: someone taught him this song! Every time he condemns a gay individual to hell, his parents will applaud. They might even invite him up in front of the church to sing of the gay individual’s condemnation to the church, who will shower him with applause and laughter.

This is child abuse. It is hateful indoctrination at its worst.

The pastor in the video is Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle at 1114 Westridge Parkway W in Greensburg, IN 47240. You can email Pastor Sangl at jsangl@tds.net or call him at the church office at (812) 662-8224. You can also contact him at his family business (I kid you not), the Flatrock Whitetail Deer Farm, where they raise whitetail deer to hunt them at (765) 525-9488.

Apparently, shortly after this video was posted online, and the public outrage began, the pastor abruptly left on vacation. The church immediately posted a statement on its website, stating among other things:

The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives.

We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.

So once again, while the church simply denies that they teach hate, the video shows otherwise. AND, we see that the church is quick to excuse and dismiss its abhorrent behavior by invoking religious freedom stating that “we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.” Once again, even in their non-apology, “religious freedom” is used to excuse hatred taught to children.

THIS is why I take this issue so seriously. What “thoughtful conservatives” see as the simple upholding of “traditional marriage” is all too often manifest as teaching children to mock and hate their neighbor…in church. It has to end, and I for one as a scholar of religious studies, will stand with the oppressed on this one.

bent meyer, mars hill church elder fired by mark driscoll, speaks out

Don't drink Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Kool-Aid

Don't drink Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Kool-Aid

One of the elders fired by Mark Driscoll in 2007 has spoken out. You can read the comments by Bent Meyer here at the Wartburg Watch. The entire article is worth a read.

With all of the turmoil that Mark Driscoll has brought upon his Mars Hill church franchise in recent months (see the exposé by Matthew Paul Turner here), including his highly suspect and cult-like disciplinary tactics meant to shame and humiliate any who would not submit to his authority and/or might threaten to leave his church, it is important to get the back story from those who know it best.

A portion of Meyer’s response reads:

The downside is Mark’s pathology shows up in ways that are impulsive, aggressive, irascible, shut off from effective relational influence, and most apparent not respectful and submissive to anyone, though he claims otherwise.

I have hoped and still hope for something short of him destroying himself that would bring about substantial change for this ever increasing population of worshiper. Some have fretted there will be a great loss of Christians with the demise of Mark and/or the Church. I don’t think so. The church that comprises all of us will survive. The chaff will be blown away, but the church will remain.

Bent Meyer is a good man, and his voice should be heard in this matter. Read it here.

how much more evidence do you need? mark driscoll’s mars hill church is a cult

Mark Driscoll

Cult leader Mark Driscoll

You must read Matthew Paul Turner’s most recent exposé of cult leader Mark Driscoll and his Mars Hill Church’s cult behavior when it comes to church discipline.

You simply will not believe what is going on behind the scenes at Mars Hill. We’ve already seen Mark Driscoll discuss (watch about the 3 minute mark) how he builds his church by intentionally targeting young men and their businesses. But now, Mars Hill’s disciplinary practices have been exposed for the cult tactics they are.

Now, according to Turner, a copy of a Mars Hill ‘church discipline’ contract is posted online, where the ‘sinner’ who has been ‘brought under church discipline’ has his sins spelled out, and in turn is asked to write out his further sins in full detail, meet with a prescribed ‘community group’ regularly, ‘write out in detail his sexual and emotional attachment history with women and share it with’ the pastor, and ‘write out a list of all people he has sinned against during this time frame, either by sexual/emotional sin, lying or deceiving, share it with’ the pastor.

Also available is the letter of ‘church discipline’ sent to the rest of the church after the member decided to leave the Mars Hill church. The document spells out the terms of the excommunication, citing the sexual nature of the individual’s sins, and detailing what members of the Mars Hill community can and cannot do with the excommunicated former member on their own time.

It will turn your stomach.

Dr. Benjamin Zablocki, Chair of the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University, defines a religious cult as “an ideological organization held together by charismatic relationships and the demand of total commitment,” usually due “to members’ adulation of charismatic leaders,” often “contributing to the leaders becoming corrupted by power.” (Zablocki, Benjamin, “A Sociological Theory of Cults,” presented at the annual meetings of the American Family Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, 1997.) In my opinion, the behavior of Mark Driscoll and his Mars Hill church meets the classic definition of a religious cult.

The individual in Turner’s exposé is compelled as a condition of further participation in the group to write out in detail a list of his potentially shameful personal sexual history, while refusal to do so leads to personal details already confessed to the leadership being revealed to the community, along with directives to the community to ostracize and not communicate with the excommunicated individual – a community which in many cases is the sole friendship and support group for the individual. That is the definite activity of a cult.

We all knew that Mark Driscoll was a tumor on the face of Christianity, but these latest revelations may signal the end for the community, which if we’re honest, is probably not a bad thing at all.

Go read it. Part 1. Part 2.


If you a member of the Mars Hill church, get out. And if you would like help getting out, feel free to comment below or email me, and I can refer you to counselors who specialize in helping people remove themselves from abusive relationships, communities, and cults.

Robert R. Cargill

fuller seminary’s ‘the burner’ blog reviews mark driscoll’s new book on sex (er, marriage)

Mark Driscoll's "Real Marriage"David Moore of “The Burner” (Fuller Theological Seminary’s blog), has posted two reviews of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s (and his submissive-by-God’s-command wife, Grace’s) new book, Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.

The first review is entitled: “(It Seems) Mark Driscoll Thinks Wives Are Only Good for Sex.” The second review is entitled “Mark Driscoll’s Chauvinist Views on Appropriate Roles in Marriage.”

Both reviews are, unfortunately, dead on.

In the first review, an editor’s note points out that the words “(It Seems)” were added to the title after complaints in the comments area that it was too harsh. They should have left it the way it was, for the review accurately articulates Driscoll’s obsession with his own powers of extrasensory perception and psychic visions (which I’ve critiqued earlier), and his ability to use them as a time-traveling voyeur to ‘see’ the sexual pasts of his wife and those he counsels.

The Burner’s review states:

Listen to how many times Mark considers women (and specifically Grace–his wife and co-author) as merely sexual beings:

“One night…I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core. I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating. It was like watching a film–something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelation I sometimes receive…Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her. But God told me to marry Grace, I loved her, I had married her as a Christian, we were pregnant, and I was a pastor with a church plant filled with young people who were depending on me.” (11-12)

“Day after day, for what became years, I spent hours meeting with people untangling the sexual knots in their life, reading every book and every section of the Bible I could find that related to their needs…I had a church filled with single young women who were asking me how they could stop being sexually ravenous and wait for a Christian husband, then I’d go home to a wife whom I was not sexually enjoying. One particularly low moment occurred when a newly saved married couple came in to meet with me. I prayed, then asked how I could serve them. She took charge of the meeting, explained how she really liked her body and sex, and proceeded to take out a list of questions she had about what was acceptable as a Christian for her to do with her husband. It was a very long and very detailed list…After they left the counseling appointment to get to work on the list of acceptable activities, I remember sitting with my head in my hands just moaning and asking God, “Do you really expect me to do this as a new Christian, without a mentor or a pastor, in the midst of my marriage, and hold on for the next fifty years?”

“Perhaps the most damaged among us are prostitutes whose bodies have been sacrificed to the god of sex.” (112)

“As with many things in marriage, communication is key. When I came to the conclusion that the cure for a lot of my moodiness was having more frequent sex with my wife, I simply told her. Yes, it’s that simple… [He goes on to state that when he tried to talk to Grace about his depression, she talked too much about emotions] The truth was I needed to have more frequent sex with my wife, and we needed to discuss how that could happen…To make matters worse, seemingly every book I read by Christians on sex and marriage sounded unfair. Nearly every one said the husband had to work very hard to understand his wife, to relate to her and when he did that to her satisfaction then, maybe, she would have sex with him as a sort of reward.”

“Some couples use [anal sex] to prevent pregnancy. In conjunction with the rhythm method of birth control in which normal penis-vagina intercourse is suspended on a woman’s days of fertility, it is possible to use anal sex as an option.” (186)

This might be a new low for Christian marriage books. Is there more to marriage that male sexual satisfaction?

In a second review, The Burner explores Driscoll’s apparent misogynistic approach to sex and marriage:

Driscoll follows this line of thinking in creative ways. The man is the really, really important one in the marriage:

“In this season we shifted into ministry-and-family mode, neglecting our intimacy and failing to work through our issues. This became apparent to me when my pregnant wife came home from a hair appointment with her previously long hair (that I loved) chopped off and replaced with a short mommish haircut. She asked what I thought, and could tell from the look on my face. She had put a mom’s need for convenience before being a wife. She wept.” (11)

See? He doesn’t hate his wife–she’s just not as important as him.

“Men, we can help our wives by serving them, especially if they are working outside the home or have children who can take forever to get down for bed. This may include, if finances permit, a housekeeper or other help to free up some of your wife’s energy.” (166)

Heaven forbid that the husband actually help his wife himself. Not to mention the implied belief that household duties and childrearing are the wife’s job.

“In choosing a church, it must be a church that the husband wants to attend. Too often the wife is the one choosing the church because it meets her emotional desires and the children’s programming needs… [He explains that men don’t like to go to church.] To curb this trend, you, the husband, need to take the initiative to find a church that you also find challenging, one that is filled with men you respect, enjoy and would pursue godly relationships with.” (59)

Poor women. They can’t distinguish between their girly feelings and their need to worship God corporately in a community of faith.

I shall also refer you to reviews by Rachel Held Evans, which in part reads:

But by far the most disturbing part of the book is the first chapter, in which Mark and Grace go into extraordinary detail about their troubled sexual relationship. In this section, Grace is often cast as the damaged and sinful wife who withholds sex from her deserving husband, Mark the hero who is justified in leaving his wife but instead comes along to rescue her. The amount of guilt and shame that pervades this part of the book makes me so sad.

I shall conclude with the following:

Mark Driscoll is now the Christian equivalent of Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos: His fanatic cult followers buy his skubala because they’re nuts, while the rest of us watch incredulously and protest the horrific train wreck.

I shake my head as Mark Driscoll makes his money selling harmful waste in the name of the Lord. What? You don’t think it’s about saying outrageous things to stir controversy and make money selling books? Why, there’s even a book tour and a giveaway of an iPad filled with all of Driscoll’s sermons.

who needs reason when there’s personal revelation: god speaks to pat robertson?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a society and government that is based upon personal revelation (that is, the belief that God speaks directly to people, as opposed to, let’s say, a society and government that is based upon logic and reason that is repeatable, testable, and subject to peer-review and critical scrutiny to determine the veracity of claims) is doomed to be disproportionately influenced by religious charlatans and charismatic preachers with money like Pat Robertson.

For what is to stop a wealthy preacher with cable access to claim, for instance, that God has given him a direct, word-for-word revelation?

And in a world based upon revelation (as opposed to reason and rationality) who are you to dispute him? Does God speak to you, and if so, why are you at your desk fuming while Pat Robertson is on TV prophesying?

The Founders had a good idea: separate religion completely from the secular administration of federal government. Anything shy of this is a quasi-theocracy at the mercy of the one whom a religious majority happens to believe is in personal communication with the divine.

steve anderson really likes peeing standing up ‘like a man’

I feel bad for the editors of the New King James and New International Version of the Bible, who according to Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe Arizona, are ‘males’ and not ‘men’ because they ‘pee sitting down’ rather than ‘pissing against a wall’ like real ‘men’ (like the KJV says to in 1 Sam. 25:22; 25:34; 1 Kings 14:10; 16:11; 21:21; and 2 Kings 9:8)!

Indeed, the church’s website is correct when it describes Pastor Anderson thusly:

“He holds no college degree but has well over 140 chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word, including approximately half of the New Testament.”

(I’m guessing he took the easy way out and memorized them in English.)

There are so many things wrong with this fundy’s logic (or lack thereof) that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Obviously to this guy, the English KJV is the only ‘inspired’ version of the Bible (although it was written originally in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and an intimate knowledge of these three languages will always better inform the reader of the text than a translation).

Second, he obviously has male superiority complex, as he has completely bypassed the ‘male vs. female’ debate that confounds so many fundamentalists, and has skipped to arguing ‘man vs. male,’ where ‘male’ is apparently more effeminate than a real (English) ‘man.’ And God help the poor German men (see the 2:17 mark).

But perhaps the best example of this man’s skewed logic is this fact: according to him, R. Kelley (as spoofed by Dave Chappelle) would be the ultimate man.

I shake my head at fundamentalists of any religion.

HT: RL

what exactly is biblical marriage?

Have you ever wondered what real “Biblical Marriage” looks like? Before you go arguing for “traditional,” “biblical” marriage, take a look at this handy dandy chart.

Biblical Marriage Chart

Chart of Biblical Marriage

So essentially, you can have your choice of anything from the chart and you can still be considered “biblical.” You raped someone? That’s ok, just pay your fine (to her father) and make sure you marry her.

Or, if you’re a soldier, perhaps take a prisoner of war and marry her.

You can choose any one of them – after all, they’re all biblical and often ordained by God himself.

Now, for those of you who will argue, “but the New Testament superseded the Old Testament. I believe in ‘New Testament’ marriage,” well, for you there’s 1 Cor. 7:8:

“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am.”

and, of course, 1 Cor. 7:25-26:

“Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.”

and 1 Cor. 7:32-34:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.

So, you basically have the choice of not getting married if you want to be truly biblical.

Of course, if you are totally weak and completely lack self-control, then as a concession, you can marry (1 Cor. 7:9). Just remember what Paul warned you in 1 Cor. 7:28b:

“Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.”

Then again, some might respond and say, “Hey now, you’re leaving out the verses that say nice things about marriage, like Romans 7:2:

“Thus a married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the law concerning the husband.”

and Matt 19:5//Mark 10:8//Eph 5:31 all citing Gen 2:24, noting that people, in fact, do get married. But is that not most likely referring to one of the acceptable forms of the “biblical marriage” from the above chart? And there are other verses that speak about marriage, but should not the fact that the above verses are also “biblical” be a bit disconcerting to those who argue for “scriptural authority” for marriage?

Now, please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not advocating against marriage. I love being married to Roslyn, and we are quite happy together. But we define the arrangements of our partnership, and we chose to love each other. Likewise, any two other consenting adults, regardless of race or gender, should be able to enjoy the same joys and benefits of marriage that Roslyn and I do.

That is to say, if you’re going to argue that same-sex couples cannot get married because it is not a ‘sanctioned’ form of marriage in the Bible, then be prepared to defend those forms of marriage that are sanctioned in the Bible, like forcibly marrying rape victims and prisoners of war, for according to the Bible, these too are sanctioned by God.

Or, you can stop discriminating against the civil liberties of homosexual individuals while hiding behind some mythical construct of “biblical marriage” and let people who love one another and want to commit their lives to one another actually get married.

At the very least, before you go advocating for “traditional” or “biblical” marriage, it’s probably not a bad idea to read the text and make absolutely sure you actually want to argue in favor of “biblical” marriage.

Have a nice day.

HT: Travis Spackman via Kim and the Rabbi with thanx to nonstampcollector.

the epitome of hypocrisy: westboro baptist to picket steve jobs’ funeral

Margie J. Phelps, daughter of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, tweets that Westboro Baptist will picket the funeral of Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs because of his opposition to California's Prop 8, which sought to ban same-sex marriage. Ironically, and some would say hypocritically, she informed the public via Twitter from her iPhone!

Margie J. Phelps, daughter of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, tweets that Westboro Baptist will picket the funeral of Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs because of his opposition to California's Prop 8, which sought to ban same-sex marriage. Ironically, and some would say hypocritically, she informed the public via Twitter from her iPhone!

This is the epitome of hypocrisy.

I typically don’t report on the idiots at Westboro Baptist Church, but a recent tweet caught my eye.

Margie J. Phelps, one of the 13 children of hatemongering pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, recently tweeted that Westboro would be picketing the funeral of Steve Jobs because Apple contributed money to help defeat California’s Proposition 8, which sought to ban same sex marriage. She tweeted:

Westboro will picket his funeral.He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin. MT @AP: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died at 56.

The fact that the douche bags at Westboro would picket Mr. Jobs’ funeral is not surprising. However, what makes the story brazenly hypocritical is that Phelps informed the public via Twitter from her iPhone!

And THAT made me smile.

Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs. Thank you for your life, your work, and for helping me to work harder, play better, and dream bigger.

HT: Joel Watts FB via Steve Lowe FB

 


UPDATE:

Gawker has the story.

Here’s a pic of the full context of her tweet:

Margie Phelps' Steve Jobs Tweet

Margie Phelps' Steve Jobs Tweet

article: fundamentalism, biblical interpretation, feminism, and gay rights at bible and interpretation

David A.J. Richards

David A.J. Richards, the Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University School of Law

There is an article at Bible and Interpretation entitled, “Against Fundamentalism in Christian Bible Interpretation: The Biblical Case for Feminism and Gay Rights,” that is worth a read. David A. J. Richards, the Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University argues:

What is astonishing about all the forms of American fundamentalism—new natural law, Protestant fundamentalism, and Mormonism—is that their hostility to feminism and gay rights rests on a reading of ostensibly Christian texts that pays little or no attention to the life and teaching of the historical Jesus.

The article concludes:

What they fail to see is how the alternative anti-patriarchal reading of Christianity I propose clarifies what Jesus thought were the difficulties for us of an ethics of love under patriarchy and why he expressed these difficulties through the command to love even our enemies under the terms of a patriarchal culture that made such love unspeakable, indeed unnatural. The familiar King James version translation of Matt. 5:48 is: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Bible, Matt., 1998, 8). Jesus models our love for one another (including loving even our enemies) on God’s love for us, as relationally responsive and responsible persons and as equals. If so, the deepest impulses within Christianity call for a love only possible for us as equals in responsible relationship, the basis for what is distinctive in contemporary feminism and gay/lesbian rights.

Give it a read.

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