The summary of Driscoll’s view may be most clearly seen when he said that “cessationism is worldliness” and then sealed the deal stating, “So it goes to Atheism, Deism and this will be controversial, cessationism.”
Side note: Before getting to the main issue I want to address something Driscoll said just after the worldliness comment. As part of making his
assertion case for cessationism being worldliness Driscoll quotes Renee Descartes’ famous phrase, “I think therefore I am” asserting that cessationists use the same type of individualism and rationalism thereby establishing a faulty epistemology. If this were true about cessationists then why would they ever use Scripture to back up their claims? My brief point on this matter is that Descartes’ position (and Driscoll’s assertion as it follows) is self-defeating and, therefore not at all a supporting position for the cessationist. Although more could be said, I am addressing this one issue to show how a little careful thinking can alleviate such a ridiculous charge toward fellow Christians. The following quote briefly explains.
Descartes felt that his method brought him finally to the indubitable and foundational truth that he himself existed. Even if everything else he believed was an illusion, he at least needed to exist in order to do the doubting in the first place. Thus the famous dictum: “I think, therefore I am.” But Descartes was here not scrupulous enough as a philosopher. By taking as his premise “I think,” he had already begged the question of his existence (asserting the “I”). This was no more helpful, really, than arguing: “I stink, therefore I exist.” Descartes should have more stringently premised only that “Thinking is occurring”—from which it does not logically follow that “I exist.”1
Back to the main issue. Reading Frank’s letter and Driscoll’s comments on cessationism reminded me of a series on spiritual warfare by Driscoll from a few years back. I remember him saying something to the effect that God gave him visions or dreams about people in his congregation. So I looked up the series and found exactly what Driscoll said and I was right. I’ve posted the transcript of the section below along with an audio clip and the full video.
I have wondered for the longest time if any other Christians would testify to God showing them the future and giving them prophetic dreams. The circumstances this week provide the perfect opportunity for my curiosity to ask if anyone else has had this experience.
I start getting prophetic dreams. God’s showing me the future. Ah, a gift of discernment kinda comes to the fore for me. Not all the time, but I can see somebody and I just know their story.
I remember walking up to people, and one women, telling her, “You know last night did your husband grab you by the throat and throw you up against the wall? Threaten you? And tell you that if you told me that uh, he would kill you?” She’s crying. She says, “How did you know?” I don’t know. I see it. I see it like a film.
Go up to another person. “Hey, I believe that you were sexually abused when you were young. Did so and so do this to you when you were this age? And you know, did a comforting spirit come to you at that point and, a demon masquerading as an angel of light?” And he said, “Yeah, how did you know?” I was like,”I saw it.” I started having dreams. I started seeing things. I started reading people’s proverbial mail.”
I did not know what to do with any of this because in my theology I’m a cessasionist. That means that I believe the supernatural essentially ceased in the early church. So we don’t have charasmatic gifts today and the demonic activity isn’t real, especially, for believers.2
Below is an audio clip of the excerpt from part 1 of the Spiritual Warfare series.
In part 3 of the Spiritual Warfare series, Christus Victor, Driscoll shares more about the visions he had about the church members’ lives including sins, threats, molestations, etc.
Some people actually see things. This may be gift of discernment. On occasion, I see things. I see things. Uh, like I was meeting with one person and they..they didn’t know this, but they were abused when they were a child. And I said, “When you were a child you were abused. This person did this to you, physically touched you this way.” He said, “How do you know?” I said, “I don’t know. It’s like I got a TV right here. I’m seeing it.” He said, “No that never happened.” I said, “Go ask him. Go ask him if they actually did what I think they did and I see that they did.” They went and asked this person – when I was a little kid did you do this? And the person said, “Yeah, but you were only like a year or two old. How do you remember that?” He said, “Well, pastor Mark told me.”
I’m not a guru. I’m not a freak. I don’t talk about this. If I did talk about it everybody would want to meet with me and I’d end up like one of those guys on TV. But some of you have this visual ability to see things.
Uh, uh, there was one women I dealt with. She never told her husband that she had committed adultery on him early in the relationship. I said, “You know.” She’s sitting there with her husband. I said, “You know I think the root of all this..I think Satan has a foothold in your life because you’ve never told your husband about that really tall blonde guy that you met at the bar. And then you went back to the hotel. And you laid on your back. And you undressed yourself. And he climbed on top of you. And you had sex with him. And snuggled up with him for a while. And deep down in your heart, even though you had just met him, you desired him because secretly he is the fantasy body type.” I said, “You remember that place it was that cheap hotel with that certain colored bed spread. You did it..you had sex with the light on because you weren’t ashamed and you wanted him to see you. And you wanted to see him.” She was just looking at me like… I said,”You know, it was about ten years ago.” I see everything. She says…she looks at her husband. He says, “Is that true?” She says, “Yeah. He was 6-2, blonde hair, blue eyes. Yeah.”
Some of you when you’re counseling you will see things. I mean you will, you will literally gift of discernment see things. I can’t explain it. It doesn’t happen all the time.
Sometimes your counselee, they will see things. Ye..eh..there’s pa..I found this with people…ok, now let me…I’m going to ask the demon questions. You tell me what they say. They don’t say anything. I say, “What do you hear?” And they say, “Nothing.” They say, “But I’m seeing stuff.” Oh, oh, well tell me. What’s that? “I’m seeing..you know when I was little my grandpa molested me. I didn’t know that.” I said, “Well, let’s not assume it’s true. Go ask your grandfather.” Grandpa says, “Yeeeaah, when you were little I molested you.” Grandpa was assuming they’d be too young to remember. So he’s only molest grand kids up to a certain age. But they saw it.
It’s the supernatural. It’s…it’s, it’s the whole other realm. It’s like the Matrix. You can take the blue pill, you take the red pill. You go into this whole other world. And, and, and that’s the way it works.
So I say – tell me everything you hear, tell me everything you see. And sometimes I see things too. I see things too. I’ve seen women raped. I’ve seen children molested. I’ve seen people abused. I’ve seen people beaten. I’ve seen horrible things done. Horrible things done. I’ve seen children dedicated in occultic groups and demons come upon them as an infant by invitation. And I wasn’t present for any of it, but I’ve seen it visibly.
Upon occasion when I get up to preach I’ll see just like a screen in front of me. I’ll see somebody get raped or abused and then I’ll track ’em down and say, “Look I had this vision. Let me tell you about it.” All true.
One I had I was sitting in my office at the old, uh, Earl Building. This gal walks by. Nice gal, member of the church. This is when the church was small. And there’s just like a TV was there and I saw the night before her husband threw her up against the wall, had her by the throat, was physically violent with her. And she said, “That’s it, I’m telling the pastors.” And he said, “If you do I’ll kill you.” He was a very physically abusive man.
She was walking by and I just saw it. It was like a TV. And I said, “Hey, come here for a second.” I said, “Last night did your husband throw you up against the wall and have you by the throat, physically assault you and tell you if you told anyone he would kill you?” And she just starts balling. She says, “How did you know?” I said, “Jesus told me.”
I called the guy on the phone,”Hey, I need you to come to the office.” I didn’t give him any clue. He comes in and I said, “Dude, what’d you do to your wife last night? Why’d you do this? Why’d you throw her up against the wall?” And he gets very angry. They’re sitting on the couch and he says, “Why did you tell him?” I said,”She didn’t Jesus did. Jesus did.”3
Below is an audio clip of the excerpt from part 3 of the Spiritual Warfare series.
Below is video of the full 2008 message Introduction to Spiritual Warfare.
And your thoughts are?
- Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready: Directions For Defending the Faith (Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Press, 1996), 166-167, fn. ↩
- Driscoll, Mark. Introduction to Spiritual Warfare, 2008. (From about the minute mark 11:13 through 12:22) ↩
- Driscoll, Mark. Christus Victor, 2008. (From about the minute mark 19:14 through 23:54) ↩