Disturbing Driscoll Divination

Though I (Shane) usually don’t read blogs, a friend of mine (thanks, PC!) pointed out a Teampyro blog post (HERE) which dealt with a disturbing and dangerous sermon clip by Mark Driscoll.  I don’t know anything about Teampryo, but this is a blog post worth reading (including a video and transcript of Driscoll’s sermon clip). 

I knew Driscoll wasn’t very Reformed, I knew he wasn’t a “5 point” Calvinist, and I knew he had charismatic tendencies.  This sermon excerpt is far worse than those things.  When you watch/read it, you’ll see that it is beyond crazy Pentecostalism and is borderline neopaganism (or something like that).  Driscoll here is unbiblical, unwise, not pastoral, not helpful, and frankly, this is a dangerous teaching.  As the other blog said, we shouldn’t give Driscoll a pass for this.  Even if he has done “good work” in the past, he needs to be rebuked and he needs to repent.  If his elders/deacons won’t speak up, other Christians need to lovingly address this false teaching.  It’s not a minor thing.

I usually don’t weigh in on these issues.  And I almost deleted this post several times.  But since I’ve blogged on Driscoll’s books in a somewhat favorable way, I feel compelled to point this out.  I’m going to go back and put some sort of a note on the blog posts I’ve done on Driscoll’s books.  Andrew and I certainly don’t want to endorse any unbiblical teaching.

My advice?  Get over Driscoll.  Move on.  Grow up.  Mature.  Read more solid, more biblical, and less trendy theology.  Read Thomas Watson.  Read Michael Horton.  Read Louis Berkhof.  Read Martin Luther.  Read R.C. Sproul.  Read the Christian classics.  Sure, these guys might not crack jokes, cuss, talk crudely about sex, and tell about their visions and rated ‘R’ dreams, but they will teach you mature, grown-up Christian theology.  That’s what the church needs.  Do not be children in your thinking…but in your thinking be mature (1 Cor. 14.20; cf. Eph 4.13, Col 1.28, and Heb. 5.14). 

shane lems

26 Replies to “Disturbing Driscoll Divination”

  1. I think giving up on Driscoll as an author and theologian at this point is probably a little premature. I think that ultimately he will grow out of some of this craziness, especially if some of the people he respects call him out on this.

    However, I think if we dismiss Driscoll on this, we need to dismiss Piper (and in some regards Chandler too), something I’m not ready to do. They are all Charismatics and in some senses it is just a sliding scale with Driscoll on the crazy end and Piper and Chandler on the other.


    1. Tony,

      I don’t think that dismissing Driscoll necessarily leads to dismissing Piper (I have never listened to Chandler, so I can’t speak in his defense). Driscoll is taking liberties in areas that Piper would never dabble. And although Piper is wrong in his view on “gifts,” he is on a completely different playing field than Driscoll—two extremes. Ultimately, it seems like a slippery slope to conclude that all charismatic theologians/pastors should be dismissed if Driscoll is.

      I also am unsure that Driscoll has the credibility to be taken seriously as a theologian. This video is a few years old, and he has since shown no evidence of changing views. The guy has been in the ministry for 15 years and is over 40, which is definitely enough time to correct himself in these areas.


      1. The ultimate problem, and why I clump Piper in with Driscoll in this, is that both claim that on some level there is special revelation outside of the scripture. While Piper may not claim the same kind of particular revelation, he could not say that what Driscoll is describing is impossible. I think this kind of issue is present in any charismatic teaching that argues for particular “words of knowledge.”


  2. Tony,

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I think that what Shane is pointing out is not necessarily his Charismatic tendencies per se. Rather, it is Driscoll’s “unbiblical, unwise, not pastoral, not helpful” belief and preaching on this “gift of discernment,” both his claim of possessing this tv screen, as well as telling his congregation to seek this gift if they have it. I disagree with you that Shane’s dismissing of Driscoll means all charismatic teachers are to be dismissed. Claiming this is comparable to saying that all Calvinists must be dismissed if the hyper-calvinist Fred Phelps is dismissed. Obviously, I am not comparing Driscoll and Phelps, but pointing out how dismissing one in a particular “camp” does not always mean dismissing all.


  3. Let’s suppose for the sake of discussion, Pastor Driscoll’s tv screen revealed some other sin – say that the couple stole some money (nothing to do with sex). Would you still claim he is unbiblical, unwise, not pastoral, not helpful… ????


    1. Joe – thanks for the comments, and thanks for being straightforward and not nasty.

      To answer your question, yes, I would.

      First, pastors are called to preach the Word, not dreams and visions.

      Second, I am very skeptical of visions/dreams and the sheer subjectiveness involved. What’s the difference between Driscoll’s TV-like visions and Pat Robertson’s “revelations?”

      So yes, even if Driscoll preached on a dream/vision that he saw a child steal a sucker at Disneyland, I would say it is unbiblical, unwise, not pastoral, and not helpful. The R-rating just adds to the mess. Did he see a naked woman in the dream? Why is he dreaming about bedroom scenes? I’d be repenting of a vision like that, not preaching about it!

      In other words, I believe there are many layers of error to Driscoll’s vision/dream preaching.

      Hope this helps,

      shane lems


  4. I spent some time reading many of the replies on the “Pyro” blog. After scanning through about half of them, I was very encouraged to see that only a handful of repliers defended Driscoll and his ungodly dreams/visions. It was surprising to discover, however, that John Piper is not a cessationist! I have read many of his books, and have not seen any indication that he is of that persuasion. At any rate, as far as Driscoll is concerned, it would be difficult for me to agree that he is reformed in any sense of the word! In fact, by observing the fruit, I would question his salvation, and he should be held accountable for this heresy by his elders!


  5. Tom, you are not using the word “heresy” in the proper way. What grounds do you have to question his salvation? What fruit do you see (or not see) that makes you question this? His ministry is growing and vibrant. Many people are coming to faith and the gospel is being preached (Grace alone by Faith alone).

    I’m curious to hear what exactly makes him not reformed.


  6. Tony,

    “Reformed” in its historic context of the Reformation can be broken down into:

    5 solas (in a recent post in an Acts 29 sermon on the Resurgence, Driscoll actually said that the “Presbyterian guys, especially those who are Reformed” sometimes focus on “solo scriptura” instead of “sola” meaning that Scripture is the only authority to explain how charismatic prophecies could be included as authorities)

    5 points of Calvinism (Driscoll isn’t even a 5 point Calvinist with his view on “unlimited limited” atonement which just sounds like Amyraldism…which is fine…it just brings up problems when he calls himself Reformed)

    Confessional aka Westminster Standards (Confession of Faith, Larger and shorter catechisms) or Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession of Faith, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dordt)…Driscoll isn’t confessional.

    Sacramental in that they have a Reformed (or biblical) understanding of the two sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Reformed people baptize theirs babies as a sign and seal of the New Covenant and its blessings since their children are part of the covenant community. The Lord’s Supper is also not simply a memorial as Baptist circles understand it in Reformed circles. Driscoll doesn’t baptize babies and has a Zwinglian/Baptistic understanding of the Supper.

    Covenantal…Reformed people have a covenantal grid-work hermeneutic of the Bible and believe that the Gospel has always been saving people by grace through faith in Christ from its promise in Genesis 3.15 to now. If you read Driscoll’s “Doctrine” book, he thinks the first covenant is made with Noah instead of Adam which is problematic since it doesn’t line up with Hosea 6:7.

    Hopefully this helps your understanding of Reformed. I agree with Shane on his views of Driscoll’s charismania. It’s okay that Driscoll isn’t Reformed…it only irks Reformed people when the Acts 29 and other movements like that use “Reformed theology” when what they mean is “Calvinism.” Reformed ≠ Calvinism in the sense Presbyterian people use Reformed and Baptists use Reformed.

    Once again, there’s nothing wrong with someone not being Reformed.



    1. Dan,

      Are you prepared to dismiss John Piper from “reformed” as well. Because according to your definition he is no more (or less) Reformed than Driscoll.

      I think that your definition is too narrow, and while it may be wise for people to use qualifying adjectives (Reformed Baptist, Reformed Independent, etc.) I don’t think it is accurate to say that only people who adhere to the Westminster Standards are Reformed.

      Beyond that, Driscoll is exactly right that Reformed guys (especially as you move toward Hyper-Calvinism) misunderstand the nature of Sola Scriptura to be Solo Scriptura. Scripture is not our ONLY (Solo) source of doctrine and revelation, it is simply the primary and normative (Sola) source of doctrine and revelation. Also, it’s a little arrogant and short-sighted to set up a dichotomy between Reformed and non-Biblical in understanding the sacraments. According to that definition you’ve dismissed Luther as non-Biblical. Are you really ready to say that your interpretation is the only possible accurate interpretation of the Bible? On what authority do you make that assertion? (For the record, I agree with you on the nature of the sacraments, but the theological arrogance of much of the Reformed world drives me batty and it has to stop.)


  7. Tony,

    It seems you have quite the Arsenal of ammunition in that you do not back off with your comments. Remember that most of the people viewing this blog and the two guys writing for this blog are Reformed in my understanding of Reformed.

    With that said, I would not consider Piper Reformed in the Reformation’s understanding of Reformed. He is Calvinistic and Baptist. He holds to the same soteriology of the Reformation without the ecclesiology, eschatology, and understanding of the sacraments (and means of grace) that was taught by the Reformers. I’m not “dismissing” him…he just isn’t Reformed.

    It’s unwise to say that the Scripture is not our ultimate or only authority in how Christians live their life since that’s what Rome did and look where it got them. It’s unwise to follow guys who have “revelations” that don’t agree with what is being in Scripture. The Holy Spirit communicates to believers through the Word of God (being preached or read) creating faith (Rom 10.17) and the sacraments confirming and sealing faith. No one has the office of apostle or prophet having divine authority anymore but we are all bound to be under the authority of Scripture since it is the complete Word of God and is enough to get us through this age.

    Concerning Luther, I don’t think he was right on the sacraments. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me saying that since I hold to sola scriptura and believe that a Reformed understanding of the sacraments is biblical. With that said, I don’t think I would dismiss Luther as “unbiblical.” You seem to be committing logical fallacies and suggesting many slippery slopes in that you love to jump from A to Z rather quickly (e.g. Driscoll and Piper with the charismatic comments above, Driscoll and Piper with Reformed, Luther on theology of sacraments). Luther is a boss in his own regard but I would say Confessional Reformed people have the most biblical understanding of the Scriptures. I would say I base that authority on sola scriptura (I haven’t seen this revelation in a tv screen either).

    It’s not theological arrogance to take a stand and contend for what is biblical confessing the faith that was handed down from the Lord Jesus Christ to the apostles and prophets who built the foundation of the church. I agree with Calvinistic Baptists and Lutherans on justification by faith alone, ordu salutis, and their agreement with the five solas but ultimately, I believe the Confessionally Reformed faith is the most biblical.



  8. I never said that Scripture was not our ultimate source of authority, I said it is not the only sources of revelation. This is not only Biblical (Romans 1), but it is Confessional (Westminster Confession 1:1), and it is deeply rooted in the Reformers (Institutes 1.3.1).

    I employed no slippery slope, you were the one who set up the, false, dichotomy between a sacramental view and a non-biblical view. You did this by parenthetically inserting “Biblical” as an explanatory apposition of “Reformed” in regards to the Sacraments.

    It was also not a slippery slope to go from Driscoll to Piper in regards to being reformed or not, Piper and Driscoll hold to essentially the same doctrine on most of the things you are stating are distinctive. You are one of the few Westminster guys that I have interacted with that have been willing to dismiss Piper (kudos!). It WAS a bit of a slippery slope on the charismatic things, but not entirely. Piper claims to have the same type (not the same manifestation) of prophetic revelation that Driscoll does. He may implement it with better wisdom, but he still claims words of knowledge apart from Scripture.

    I never said that it was theological arrogance to stand for what you believe (In fact I called out Furtick and those like him in a recent post of my own http://theologicalarsenal.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/steven-furtick-and-the-erosion-of-orthodoxy/ ). The way you (the hypothetical you, not necessarily you personally) do it is what is at issue. The problem comes in when you do not acknowledge humbly that you could be wrong. To take another person to task blanketly without charity and kindness is arrogance. This may be more of a response to the person who questioned Driscoll’s salvation (an act in itself that smacks of a giant plank in their eye), and to other recent experiences I have had.


    1. Tony,

      You are truly an interesting guy—with your attempts not to commit a slippery slope, it seems you are almost begging the question. I’m not sure that you understand logical argumentation.

      However, Romans 1 is dealing with natural revelation and how God took special revelation (the Word) away from Adamic humanity when Adam broke covenant claiming to be wiser than the Creator. This is is why you see philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle trying to tap into the understanding of “the God” by means of natural revelation [for Plato, through nature and the heavens itself…and for Aristotle, a sort of ethic that builds up to God-likeness) this is just the dual-aspect of natural revelation by means of heaven declaration and natural law from being made in the image of God] but are only able to come to logical concepts (“The Good” for Plato or “nous, nous, nous” for Aristotle) because they don’t have special revelation. I was dealing with sola scriptura as special revelation for salvation, the foundation of the church, and how the Spirit works. To bring up, natural revelation here seems to be unnecessary and leading away from what I meant.

      Once again, I didn’t “dismiss” Piper as I stated earlier….I simply said he isn’t Reformed according to the Reformation’s definition of Reformed. I never said I cannot be wrong but said that by committing to sola scriptura, I stand convinced that the Confessional Reformed faith is the most biblical proponent of Christianity. The rest of your post doesn’t seem to make much sense to me and I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at—you seem not to be moving forward with your argumentation.

      Regardless, I don’t really feel like we should continue this since it seems unfruitful at this point.



  9. You said that “This sermon excerpt is far worse than those things. When you watch/read it, you’ll see that it is beyond crazy Pentecostalism and is borderline neopaganism (or something like that). Driscoll here is unbiblical, unwise, not pastoral, not helpful, and frankly, this is a dangerous teaching.” Are you implying that Pentecostals are “crazy”?


  10. No. I meant it like this: “it is beyond the sector of Pentecostalism that is crazy.” I didn’t mean to say or imply that all Pentecostals are crazy.

    Hope this helps, Dennis!



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