Mark Driscoll’s Spiritual Warfare Teaching and Mental Illness

Yesterday, I posted a link to the We Love Mars Hill website and a story about a woman who mentioned Mars Hill spiritual warfare protocols. The procedure Mars Hill pastors use to put a demon on trial is here.

Since the post came out, readers have sent some other stories and I was reminded that the I had written previously about the spiritual warfare series. Here I want to add some additional information.

Before I do that, let me add that for a Christian, this is a complex issue. I believe Satan is real, but I don’t believe it is helpful to link diagnosed mental illnesses to any kind of demonic activity. In 35 years of experience, I haven’t seen an instance where Mars Hill like interventions were necessary or helpful.* When I have been aware that an individual went through something like that, it was never helpful in a lasting manner. In general, I think it stigmatizes persons with mental illness to include brain-based problems (depression, eating disorders, mental illness) in any kind of spiritual warfare inventory.  People with these illnesses suffer enough without a minister telling them that their problems may be due to demonic influence. Persons with the kinds of trauma and problems listed in the Mars Hill spiritual warfare inventory should be seen by professionals trained to recognize and treat such conditions.

Hopefully, the awareness raised by re-visiting these issues via the Mars Hill experience can take us a little further toward ridding the church of stigma and antiquated methods of helping those with mental and emotional illnesses. Furthermore, I hope Christians working in medicine, psychology, and the helping professions will speak up in support of those they help.

In 2012, Matthew Paul Turner posted a story of a girl he called Amy who said she went through an exorcism like experience with Mark Driscoll. According to Turner, Mars Hill declined to comment but instead referred him to the spiritual warfare lectures on the Mars Hill website. Those lectures are now missing. In the mean time, I have heard from others who sincerely doubt the story. However, since Mars Hill hasn’t commented, it is hard to know. Some of what is described sounds similar to the spiritual warfare trial and other aspects seem exaggerated.

I was also reminded that I had posted a segment from the spiritual warfare teaching previously. In this post, I cover Driscoll’s claims to see the sins of others via visions which he then discloses to those he is with. These incidents come directly from Driscoll and are, in my opinion, completely inappropriate.

Then this morning I saw a promotion for Western Seminary’s partnership with Mars Hill. I wrote Western to ask if they will teach this kind of spiritual warfare trial and they have yet to reply.

 

*I realize that I have not experienced everything and remain open to hearing from people with different experience. All I can do is go on what I have seen in experience and reviewed in research.

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