Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Reponse to Mark Driscoll's Preposterous Proposition, Part III

In my last post I had stated that Driscoll in an attempt to cleverly deceive you into thinking that cessationism is worldly, attempted to lead you down a trail that began with individualism, breaking out into rationalism, paving the way for skepticism and modernism, and ending up in one of three destinations.

The further I got into this presentation I could not believe what I was hearing. Driscoll is very passionate and convinced of his arguments and proposition. It was very frightening to hear him continue to build his case.

Driscoll proposed that if you journey from individualism through rationalism and into skepticism and modernism you will arrive at; atheism, deism, or cessationism. Wow! Clever, but deceptively dishonest.


Driscoll believes that if you make this journey you could arrive at the idea that there is no God. If there is no God, then there is no supernatural. God does not exist and miracles or the miraculous does not exist.


Deism basically states that there is a God but God is not involved in this world or its affairs. God created the world, established a bunch of natural laws, “wound the earth up” and then walked away leaving it on its own. A deist would say there is a God and the miraculous is possible, but will never happen.

He likens cessationists to the deism of Thomas Jefferson who sat in the White House and with a pen-knife cut out all miraculous events and references of his bible.  Driscoll goes on to equate cessationists with Unitarians and other extremely liberal mainline denominations who also do not believe in the miraculous.


The third stop for those who don’t believe in “the miraculous” is what is known as cessationism. He says that cessationists say miracles can happen, God can do the miraculous but He doesn’t. He states that the end result is that the supernatural gifts are no longer in operation. He includes healing, revelation, speaking in “tongues” and things like that. Driscoll states somewhat sarcastically that these things are now in the “God use to do box.” Then he forgoes any exegetical consideration at all by concluding the preposterousness of this position by remarking, “even though I was reading this book (bible) that said God was the same yesterday, day, and tomorrow. He attempts another unfounded and clever remark by stating that “our” argument turns I Corinthians 13 into origami.

In fairness, he attempts to exclude what he calls the Charismatic Kooks from the equation. He doesn’t support the prosperity dribble (health and wealth gospel) or the extremes in the Charismatic and Pentecostal world.

But again, his argument is very clever. He argues that if all we have to choose from is all the kooks and kookiness or the miraculous is no longer available then we have a no win situation. He argues we can’t throw out the miraculous because of the kooks.

Now, before we force this response into a fourth post, let me attempt to conclude. Driscoll’s proposition is preposterous and dangerous. It is so for four reasons.

He argues an invalid point

Cessationists do not believe that the miracles of the bible are invalid no do they believe that God no longer works supernaturally above and beyond natural laws in our world today. Cessationists simply believe that certain gifts were temporary, served a unique purpose and those gifts are no longer needed to be bestowed on certain individuals. Driscoll spends a good deal of time arguing against something the cessationists don’t even believe. This is clever but deceptive. It makes cessationists look like they don’t believe the miraculous events of scripture or that God is now “hog-tied” and can’t act like God.

He deceives his audience

His presentation is inaccurate. He doesn’t produce facts, doctrine, or biblical teaching to support his proposition. His deception may be totally unintentional, but it is deceptive just the same. His proposition is false in the same manner false teaching is false.

He is biased in his proposition

He brings a pre-supposed proposition to the table. He is committed to the reality of supernatural sign gifts therefore he must defend his position. He chooses really to attack cessationists with secular philosophy and baseless conclusions. He doesn’t exegetically take us to the Scripture and prove his point. The reason is that he can’t. An honest an literal reading of Scripture (ah, there is the rub, these guys hate “literal”) shows these gifts have ceased. Driscoll take us down a long, tiresome, and unfounded road paved individualism, rationalism, skepticism, modernism, to worldliness.

He ignores reality by his proposition

The scriptures themselves testify to the waning away and eventual dying out of these supernatural gifts upon people. They no longer exist by the time the canon is closed. Church history shows that only doctrinally incorrect, heretical, or fringe groups claimed to engage in supernatural events. The reason and purpose of gifting people with these gifts were served and satisfied.

Driscoll is a very effective communicator. He is witty, humorous, passionate, and articulate. This makes him dangerous. Scripture, not experience, emotionalism, or extraordinary is the highest and total authority for doctrine and practice. Driscoll's proposition is presposterous and without any foundation whatsoever. God is a God of the miraculous and who can limit Him? Certainly not cessationists. 

Join us on Saturdays as I hope to list various "alleged discrepancies" or myths in the bible, debunk them, and demonstrate the accuracy of Scripture. If you have come across what you might have considered a discrepancy or if one has been presented to you as you shared the gospel or your testimony please email it to me. As a matter of fact if there are certain passages you are struggling with please feel free to email them also.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

H e certainly does give his audience the wrong impression, of course there are some who will believe him but I'm sure the majority don't.

Thank you Gregg for your lovely comment, I chose George to sing the song knowing you liked him.
Daniel does a good job of the song but wasn't on the internet site I get my songs so chose George.

Have a good time.

Pat Donovan said...

Good job on this false teaching Greg it needed to be delt with, and you did agreat job of not atacking the person, just the false teaching. I hope your freind James comes around to see your not attacking Driscoll on a personal basis.

Pat Donovan said...

PS. think about taking us through 1Cor 13, step by step in biblical exigetical style. hope i spelled that right.

Kansas Bob said...

As you know I am not a Cessationist Greg but I really appreciated your definition of Cessationism in one of the previous posts. Thanks for that.

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Another interesting post, Gregg, that brings to light some false teachings of which I was unaware. Thanks for sharing. Happy Saturday! ☺

Petra said...

"God is a God of the miraculous and who can limit Him? Certainly not cessationists." Exactly!

Persis said...

Great post, Gregg. Thanks for laying the straw men to rest very clearly.

james said...


I'm going to disagree with you again. I realize you aren't attacking Driscoll personally, however, I think that most bloggers could spend their time on better things than getting after Driscoll.

You wrote, "He doesn’t exegetically take us to the Scripture and prove his point. The reason is that he can’t. An honest an literal reading of Scripture (ah, there is the rub, these guys hate “literal”) shows these gifts have ceased.

First of all, an exegetical question: why would Paul have told the Corinthians to "desire prophecy" (1 Cor. 14) more than all the other gifts if it was going to cease? He wrote to this church some 20 years after Pentecost! Doesn't make sense.

Second, to say that Driscoll doesn't like literal is preposterous in itself.

Third, you keep referring to the fact that the Scriptures testify to the waning and dying out of these gifts, yet you never provide exegetical evidence for your position.

Gregg said...

James, thanks for hanging in there and continuing to read and comment. I know we will not always agree on everything. I am not going after Driscoll, I just felt that a preposterous statement couldn't hang there without being challenged.

Again, if one does a literal, grammatical, historical, contextual reading of the NT one will find that the supernatural sign gifts were temporary, served a purpose, ceased and waned by the end of the canon itself. Paul coud not longer heal, he left friends sick in various cities, couldn't heal Timothy, told him to drink some wine, references no longer were made after AD 57-60 even. You have to admit that most Reformers do not use the literal, grammatical, historical, contextual rules of hermenuetics. I did not say they did not treat parts of scripture as literal, nor do not try to keep things in context nor do they ignore grammar, but the use of either allegorical or spiritualization rules of hermenuetics fuel reformed theology.

Paul told the Corinthinan's to desire gifts because at the time of writing they were active. That is an easy question that is almost doesn't need to be asked or answered. He didn't tell Timothy in his last letter to desire them or seek them. If telling someone to ask for something or do something once makes it permanent, then let me ask you when the last time your wife offered an offering last cycle? Will she offer two turtle doves when your first child is born? Do we still receive slaves who become Christians as brothers? (Here in the US where slavery no longer exists)

I am not trying to be graphic or ridiculous. I want to remind you that things to change in the NT, some things no longer are applicable. Just as gifts were once very prevalent and believers told to seek them, they now do not need to seek them because examining their purpose, the lack of operation as the apostolic age ended, lack of evidence other than fringe lunatic groups in church history, they have ceased.

That isn't the issue. The burden of proof is not on me at this time. My response was to his proposition, which wasn't that gifts are available, but that belieiving they are not is equal to worldliness. I am not attempting at this time to prove that they aren't, just attempting to prove how preposterous that proposition was and still is.

I know there are a number of continuationists around, some very prominent. I can "allow" or except that. I don't call them worldly, or skeptics who don't believe the miracles in the bible or that God can't or no longer does the miraculous. I don't call them rationalists who rationalize God away or his power or his miraculous ability. I didn't call them individualists who start with "self" or themselves in order to concoct a "doctrine." He did. He needed to be called on it. If he would have simply stated he is a continuationist and praise God for it, I would have probably never posted a post about it. He doesn't get a pass because he is well known, clever, witty, excellent communicator, author, pastor of a meg-church.

It is no secret I don't care for Mark Driscoll. However, remember, he is my brother in Christ and he preaches the gospel and I rejoice in that. I do not judge him or his motives, that is for God and God alone. I am not going to usurp God's place and say whether he belongs or not or has a place or not in the church. But if he says something stupid or if Piper says something stupid I may feel compelled to blog for the sake of the body of Christ, the truth, Christ and doctrinal precision which all love all with all of my heart.

Saying cessationism is worldliness or leads to worldliness is and was stupid, or preposterous.

james said...

Gregg, though we do disagree on continuationism and cessationism, I will agree that he should have never said cessationism is worldliness. I still think he is talking about "hard" cessationism (i.e. no miracles even in the Bible), and as you said earlier, he could have done a better job defining that. Nevertheless, I see your point. Thanks for posting and answering my questions.