i see nutjob: mark driscoll’s psychic visions and extrasensory perception

You have absolutely got to be kidding me! Mark Driscoll is becoming the Glenn Beck of Evangelical Neo-fundamentalism: you desperately want to ignore him, but he keeps saying crazy crap and posting it online.

Scott has an excellent commentary on Driscoll’s latest diarrhea of the mouth. In sum, the words “delusional,” “bully,” “non-discerning,” “terrible scholar,” and “Mickey Mouse” are involved.

Please allow me to add “nutjob.” (And I agree, Scott, methinks the Driscoll train is about to go off the rails.)

It’s not enough to be a bully and an open advocate for the subjugation of women and homosexuals. But now, Mark Driscoll is admitting HE SEES THINGS!, as in, bilocative visions and psychic extrasensory perception in his head as well as back through time! In fact, Mark Driscoll claims he can see your past abuses from 10 years ago! He claims:

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.” And he said, “How do you know?” And I said, “I don’t know. It’s like I got a TV right here and I’m seeing it.” He said, “No, that never happened.” And I said, “Go ask ’em. Go ask ’em if they actually did what I think they did, and I see that they did.” And 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?” And they said, “Well, Pastor Mark told me.” (Watch from the 0:06 mark).

Driscoll then offers a humble disclaimer stating,

I’m not a guru. I’m not a freak. I don’t talk about this. If I did talk about it, everybody’d want to meet with me and I’d end up like one of those guys on TV. (Watch from the 0:45 mark)

The irony of the previous statement is palpable.

Then, not surprisingly, Driscoll goes on to tell the story of a woman cheating on her husband (of course):

There was one woman I dealt with, she’d 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 ’cause you’ve never told your husband about that really tall blond guy that you met at the bar, and then you went back to the hotel, and you laid on your back, and you undressed yourself, and he climbed on top of you, and you had sex with him, and snuggled up with him for a while, and deep down in your heart, even though you had just met him, you desired him because secretly he is the fantasy body type.” I said, “You remember that place: it was that cheap hotel with that certain colored bedspread. You did it, you had sex with the light on because you weren’t ashamed and you wanted him to see you, and you wanted to see him.” She was just looking at me like [throws hands in air]. I said, “You know, it was about ten years ago?”

I see everything [makes TV square with hands].

She says… she looks at her husband, he says, “Is that true?” She says, “Yeah.” “He was 6’2″? Blond hair? Blue eyes?” “Yeah.” (Watch from the 1:00 mark)

(Numbers 5:16-30 comes to mind.)

By the way, I’d have never guessed that Mark Driscoll would psychically see a woman cheating on her husband (and not the other way around), given his wonderful history with gender-related issues. Go figure.

And seriously, does Driscoll really end that story with, “I see everything!“?? Seriously? And he describes it as “supernatural” and “whole other realm?”

Unbelievable. Literally. Unbelievable.

And then, as if what he’s already said wasn’t enough, Driscoll goes on to offer incontrovertible evidence of his extrasensory perception skills:

“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.” (Watch from the 3:10 mark in the video. Emphases mine.)

I see nutjob.

Of course, he’s claiming he possesses the “gift of discernment” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10 (“to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits (διακρίσεις πνευμάτων)…”), but rather than defining it as “understanding,” the “capacity for judgment,” or as a “discernment” akin to wisdom as is done in other biblical lists of gifts of insight (cf. 1 Kings 4:29; Job 12:20; Isaiah 29:14), and rather than considering a cognate term’s use in 1 Corinthians 2:14 (πνευματικως ανακρίνεται), where its context leads the reader to a comparison of the wisdom and foolishness of this world versus that of the next (a lesson worth reading), “Pastor Mark” interprets the “discernment of spirits” (which as a leader, he, of course, possesses), as the ability to bilocate through time, and Driscoll is claiming to be able to see his followers’ past sordid deeds in visions!!!

Sheer quackery!

I shake my head…

(HT: MPT, Scott)


It looks like the Pyromaniacs blog posted concerns about this back on Aug 15, 2011.

Unreasonable Faith also has some good commentary.

20 Responses

  1. I’m thinking the print on his T shirt speaks volumes on this crap.

  2. Amen and amen.

  3. Bob, nice. I did some study in post-grad on spectral evidence at the Salem Witch Trials. We know that liminalia are ubiquitous. My favorite is Kekule’s dream. Which got organic chem off to the races. The problem with anyone without the training – it isn’t limited to theo-speaks – is that there’s no process for testing liminalia like the rigorous process that Kekule had. The hard way. From dream, to hypothesis, to experiment, to results. To peer review because there’s really no peer review. Just adoring sheep. It’s not that the non-charismatic fundies and evangelicals are more rigorous and less magical. Just more sedate. Less risk-taking. Sanitized. If professional statisticians regularly fall for the Monty Hall problem, what happens to these sheep? Statisticians can correct. There’s inter-subjective rigor for correction. For these sheep?

  4. This may sound crazy, but these kinds of claims are surprisingly common in charismatic circles. People who have this “gift” are said to be able to “read your mail” in the sense that God will tell them secrets about you. Sometimes through visions. But I must say, I’ve never heard it described in such an overly sexualized way.

  5. i am not surprised in the least that driscoll’s so-called ‘visions’ are:
    a) sexual in nature
    b) highly descriptive
    c) that his examples recount women betraying men (consistent with his other ‘teachings’ on women

  6. Here’s another problem for me: Mark is a good orator. In the sense that he has a certain rhetorical flourish and is clearly communicating his thoughts. However, good orator does not mean good thinker, theologian, or pastor.

    I believe that he blinds his audience through a rhetorical style of smug certainty, combativeness, and most of all, the ‘authority’ of his office. These combine in the passive environment of the speech-sermon to create an environment where Mark can make most any claim and it is accepted and incorporated at face value. I’m guessing I don’t have to point out the dangers inherent in such an environment to you.

    However, when arguments such as the above, are stripped of their rhetorical force, and considered on their own merit their absolute ridiculousness is quickly obvious. I’m guessing that if in a calm manner, without derision or earnest claims, one asked the majority of the audience to examine the same claims from a psychic in writing, and were asked if they were true or not, the majority would say no. Which leads back to why his words would be considered true, the environment that invests them with value, and the danger of that situation…

    Also: I think I’m beginning to really, really dislike Driscoll.

  7. agreed. in fact, i think it’s getting so bad, i’m wondering how much longer mars hill will tolerate the growing liability that is mark driscoll? the problem is, he recently reorganized his church’s charter to make himself and his cronies subject to no one. see here. so he’s gotten to a point where there’s no real accountability.

  8. K, usually I’m a Driscoll critic (and still am in regards to his teachings on gender) but I need to question you here. First, in your comments section you mentioned that you aren’t surprised “that his examples recount women…..” but his final one is calling a guy out on physical abuse. Aren’t you skewing the facts?

    Second, before we judge shouldn’t we ask if he is telling the truth? If these things have ACTUALLY happened, then doesn’t he indeed have some sort of ability of foresight?

  9. danny,

    thanx for the comment. i, too, could tell similar stories of how i had a ‘hunch’ about something and made a suggestion to an individual about dealing with a situation. however, if i retold that story, i’d tell it that way. what i would NOT do is retell the story as if i had supernatural powers of sight back in time. i just as easily could tell a story of ‘a person i dealt with’ and not tell you their names or provide you with any means by which to verify my claims and recount to you how i told them exactly what they had for breakfast for ten days in a row. amazing, right? you’d rightly be suspicious because it’s an unverifiable claim.

    whether or not driscoll can ‘see things’ in his mind that happened to others ten years ago is highly suspicious, whether he says he can do it or not. i just found it ironic that his two examples (and i’m guessing the third was the same as the first), were of a sexual nature. the final example of abuse (the one where ‘jesus told him’ that a woman was being abused) is just ridiculous. cops, counselors, and folks at social services can tell when someone has been beat up and physically abused on their neck and face (bruises, red marks left behind by fingers, etc.). they don’t need to claim that ‘jesus told me.’ why must driscoll?

    i just watched the video again. he really is claiming to be able to bilocate and have visions of things in different time and places. sheer nuts!

  10. Danny Zacharias,

    Yes. We should ask. Well crafted, Danny. I mentioned above the ubiquity of liminalia and spectral evidence. How unbidden efflorescences of ‘insight’ serve science because our scientific toolboxes have been crafted through long and arduous trials and errors and they serve us for testing which liminal hunches to keep. And which to toss. And which deserve some sort of DeMorgan’s law treatment (yes/no – sorta). See Kekule’s dream getting organic chem off to the benzene ring races.

    I agree that good scholarship is good scholarship independently of quantitative and empirical competence. Objective (inter-subjective) criteria are attainable for evaluating literature without becoming neurotic over measurements. Same for theology.

    One huge problem with non-charismatic theological scholarship is how empirical studies show that active believers in non-charismatic theological communities cannot make attributions to God’s activity in the natural world despite their commitments to non-charismatic theologies which predict that these believers should do exactly that! There are SSSR studies (Society for Scientific Study of Religion) that examine Driscol’s non-charismatic Calvinist kin – active non-charismatic Calvinists who believe in God’s active control per dogma. The studies show that non-charismatic Calvinists (again, Driscol’s kin) cannot make attributions as a population (not individuals) to God’s activity in the natural world. For a gross oversimplification, Driscol then becomes the ‘system’ attractor for those Calvinists who will switch from non-charismatic Calvinism over to charismatic Calvinism because they want more ‘action.’ It’s nonsense to assume (as an assumption) that all charismatic Calvinists following Driscol have not already factored for margins of error. There is no ‘generalized’ community of Driscol followers – except in imaginations. Anyone who really wants to do ‘system’ or church-community analyses on Driscol’s charismatic followers must also study the communities of non-charismatic Calvinists who have failed to make attributions to God’s activity. Both systems or both church-communities could be equally dysfunctional for inverted reasons. Oh, well.

    I’m not suggesting hypocrisy in the case of non-charismatic Calvinists who cannot make attributions to God’s active control in nature. Only that the lies we tell ourselves (Discworld – the lies we tell children) about our theologies demonstrate our correspondence ‘errors’ all around. For example, Driscol could be ‘correct’ (correspondence) despite himself and despite mens rea (evil intention) in his liminalia (correct: telling people this-and-that). Worse, the non-charismatics who are ‘sanitized’ of such quackery could be ‘correct’ despite themselves because they say a lot of theological words about God in control and these fancy theological words end up meaning nothing practical – as failed attribution studies show. As an experiment, consider non-charismatic theologies to be like maths (and there are many) that possess formal validity and harmonic beauty and that may have properties of felt-intrinsic poetics to those mathematicians who craft fancy mathematics – despite the fact that these fancy maths apply to noting at all – nothing – in the natural world. So too some non-charismatic theologies. Alas.

  11. The quoted transcripts read like that infamous Charlie Sheen interview. All that’s missing is Vatican Mind Assassins, Tiger Blood, and Bustin’ Seven-Gram Rocks.

  12. Danny,

    How could anyone prove that this ACTUALLY happened? It’s impossible. It’s just a story that Driscoll is telling to an audience that has already come to listen at his feet, credulous, full of admiration for him, and willing to accept his words as the words of a holy leader.

    If pressed for details Driscoll is going to claim that he can’t release them for privacy reasons. There is no way that any of the people he is talking about, if they even exist, is going to come on stage and verify his stories.

    As far as the gender issue….Driscoll goes into way more detail than needed in his story about the adulterous woman. He is sure to portray her on her back, flaunting herself, unashamed in a fully lit room with the man of her sexual fantasies…yada, yada, yada.

    It’s distasteful and lewd and completely unnecessary. That’s Driscoll’s view of women; they are either victims, or whores, or responsible for their husbands cheating on them(I’m thinking of comments he’s made in other places).

    It’s also why being an “effeminate” male is such a horrendous thing to him….because being in any way like a woman, or having womanish mannerisms….well that’s just lowering yourself.

    I have a very intuitive side. I have “known” things about people and what makes them tick and what’s going on with them without having been told. It is not psychic ability or divine insight. It’s a natural gathering of clues and social context that happens subconsciously and seems like magic….but it isn’t. It’s simply my brain processing information and drawing conclusions based on social patterns.

  13. […] Robert Cargill, following up on a post from Scotteriology, has the latest on Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seatttle: It’s not enough to be a bully and an open advocate for the subjugation of women and homosexuals. But now, Mark Driscoll is admitting HE SEES THINGS!, as in, bilocative visions and psychic extrasensory perception in his head as well as back through time! In fact, Mark Driscoll claims he can see your past abuses from 10 years ago! […]

  14. Yes. He “sees things.” He just stated that he “sees” his organization going to 25,000 – but that he is “not about numbers.” See: http://blog.marshill.com/2011/09/06/important-letters-from-pastors/

    Last week, there were only three “Executive Elders” at the top of the Mars Hill power pyramid. One of them Driscoll himself. One of the other two, the one called the “lead pastor, or “senior king” or “Mars Hill 1.0” just resigned. In his place, Driscoll is bringing on a former CEO management exec to take the organization to the “next level” – 25,000 attendees. Boasted Driscoll, in the link above, “Am I going anywhere?
    No. My plan has not changed at all.” The empire expands, and the Emperor plans to rule for life.

  15. Mark Driscoll is becoming the Glenn Beck of Evangelical Neo-fundamentalism: you desperately want to ignore him, but he keeps saying crazy crap and posting it online.

    Somebody has to, Doc, since Gene Scott is gone. But at least Gene Scott was entertaining, everybody’s crazy uncle you invite to all the reunions. Driscoll is just… wrong… and kind of scary-crazy.

  16. […] 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 […]

  17. […] Robert Cargill, following up on a post from Scotteriology, has the latest on Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seatttle: It’s not enough to be a bully and an open advocate for the subjugation of women and homosexuals. But now, Mark Driscoll is admitting HE SEES THINGS!, as in, bilocative visions and psychic extrasensory perception in his head as well as back through time! In fact, Mark Driscoll claims he can see your past abuses from 10 years ago! […]

  18. […] will it end? Story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After story. After […]

  19. Just for your info, the Bible mentions the “gift of prophecy” after which we should strive (1. Cor. 14). God might very well give certain insights to people – the ultimate goal being, to edify the church. Such insights might help other persons to move on from where they are stuck.
    One has to excercise this gift wisely, though. And it is not free of error, so one has to be humble, too.
    I trust, though, that Driscoll is doing this with the right attitude. That is my impression from hearing him preach.

  20. Prophecy is professing, not predicting, not extrasensory perception.
    Think professor, not fortune teller, not psychic.

    He’s a sex-obsessed, authoritarian huckster.

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