Phil Johnson vs. Mark Driscoll

Phil Johnson over at teampyro has written a measured and excellent response to Mark Driscoll’s pornographic divinations. There is a growing backlash against Mark for his attacks on cessasionist theology and I appreciate the timely word from Phil to offer a counterpoint to what I would consider a really weird and aberrant teaching.

7 thoughts on “Phil Johnson vs. Mark Driscoll

  1. Hi Mike. You would have to elaborate and define your terms a little bit more for me to feel comfortable answering that question. :)

  2. Hey Dustin, It was my understanding that your either a Cessasionist or Continualist. Again from my understanding Cessasionist believe that the gifts like tongues,prophecy and healing slowly waned because of the canon of scripture.

    Heb 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
    Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

    Above scripture many Cessasionist that I have talked with quote. So to define my terms I would say, can the average believer/disciple

    Mar 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
    Mar 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
    Mar 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
    Mar 16:18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”


  3. Hi Mike, thanks for the elaboration. I am a cessasionist, but I want to define that properly, as there are more or less 4 or 5 kinds of cessasionists, all which lie on different places in the spectrum. As far as some of my beliefs, I’ll relay the words of Frank Turk, who explains what I believe far better than I ever could, in a series of affirmations and denials.

    1. I affirm that Reformation theology requires the personal action of God the Holy Spirit for the life of the Church.

    I deny that this work necessarily includes speaking in tongues (as in Acts 2 as well as in so-called “private prayer languages”), healing the sick or raising the dead by explicit command, prophecy in the sense that Isaiah and John the Baptist were prophets, or any other “sign-and-wonder”-like exhibition. That is: I deny that these actions are necessary for the post-apostolic church to function as God intended.

    2. I affirm that miracles happen today. No sense in prayer and believing in a sovereign God if he’s not going to ever be sovereign, right?

    I deny that there is any man alive today who is gifted to perform miracles as Christ and the Apostles where gifted to perform miracles.

    3. I affirm that God is utterly capable of, and completely willing, to demonstrate “signs and wonders” at any time, in any place, according to his good pleasure and for his great purpose

    I deny that this activity is common, normative, necessary, or in the best interest of God’s people to been seen as common, normative and/or necessary. God in fact warns us against seeking signs rather than the thing signified repeatedly in the OT and NT

    4. I affirm the real presence of the Holy Spirit in the church of Jesus Christ as Jesus said He would be present in John 13-15

    I deny that this means that all believers or even all local churches will be equipped with apostles called and equipped as the 12 and Paul were called and equipped. A telling example is the role of apostles in delivering Scripture to the church.

    5. I affirm that the normative working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church begins with conviction of sin and regeneration, and continues through sanctification, and through the outworking of personal gifts (e.g. – Gal 5:22-23, 1 Cor 13:4-7) for the edification of the (local) church.

    I deny that explicitly-supernatural outworkings, or events the Bible calls “signs and wonders” (e.g. – Acts 2:1-11, Acts 3:3-7, Acts 5:1-11, Acts 9:32-35, etc.) are either normative or necessary for the on-going life of the church.

    6. I affirm that leadership in the church is a task wholly-empowered by the Holy Spirit to men meeting the scriptural qualifications, and that the objectives of this leadership are wholly-defined by the Holy Spirit explicitly through Scripture and implicitly as the gifts of leaders are applied to a real people in a local church.

    I deny that church leadership is like business leadership — that is, a system of techniques that have outcomes measurable by secular metrics of success — and further deny that merely-competent management processes yield the fruit of the Holy Spirit

    Those are pretty much my beliefs.

  4. Hey Dustin, thanks for the response. I just recently started looking into Frank Turk. I herd about his “I AFFIRM/DENY” on (fighting for the faith) Chris Rosebough’s show.

    I respect that Frank’s very clear in his article. In the days we are living its important to know were people stand.

    Thank you Dustin, for coming right out about being open on were you stand as a cessasionist. When did you come to this understanding? I am still working through some of my conviction about Pneumatology.


    • Its been a process. I come out of a- at least in my middle teens to early 20s- charismatic backround. It was not uncommon to hear people speaking in tongues, being slain in the spirit, fire tunnels, drunk in the spirit, etc. In fact that sort of this would happen every friday night [part of the how worship destroyed me post]. All my friends spoke in tongues, and for a short while so did I. [note, i also attended a bible college for a semester that taught tongues was one of the evidences of the fiery baptism of the holy spirit]

      I’m not coming at this from a pure skeptical point- for a few years I had what I would consider estatic experiences. Looking back its hard to figure out what was exactly going on. The more I read and studied- really delved deep into it, the more i became convinced that the gifts of tongues ceased- at least the new testament variety. And so I was in a hard place. I decided to submit my will to the scriptures and stopped “speaking in tongues”, and its been about 6 years now since i even attempted to utter them, and doubt I could even if i wanted to.

      Its hard to figure out what exactly I was doing. It was so real at the time. I’ve more or less settled on the belief that I was getting caught up in all the emotion, that in my lack of discernment and hyped up euphoria I was mimicing and imitating others. I’m still a bit confused over it, but I am convinced that the biblical tongues visa-vie this third wave charismatic outporing are nothing alike, and that’s why i’m against that.

      and yeah, a fair amount of the pneumatology is like eschatology with me. i have more or less positions that i lean towards, but its pretty fluid, and i haven’t taken many decisive positions or settled dogmatically on everything.

  5. It’s insane to call Johnson’s accusation of “pornographic divination” “measured”. The accusations is essentially that of summoning demons (witchcraft for the purpose of lust). If he has proof, then he can make the charge. Let’s see the proof.

    First, “pornography” is media whose intent it is to incite lust. Therefore, for something to be “pornographic”, it has to be geared ti that purpose. It is not simply anything that is about sex, or else certain passages of the Bible would be “pornographic” (but we know that’s not true). To assert that simply because something involves sex that it is “pornographic” betrays an unBiblical assumption about the nature of sexuality.

    Second, the accusations that a reported “vision” is “divination” goes far beyond simply believing it wasn’t Holy Spirit inspired. It is a direct accusation of involvement in some kind of witchcraft. Therefore, to make such an accusations, especially publicly, Johnson needs to cite the evidence that he has that the person was “divining” (i.e. summoning demons). If he can’t do that, then he needs to retract his accusations. He can say that he doesn’t believe it is of God, but to state that it is “divination” he needs evidence of involvement in some sort of spiritualism. Otherwise, the origin could simply be psychological or fictional. To accuse someone of divination is to accuse them of a crime that brought the death penalty under the old covenant.

    If he can’t prove that the media was intended on eliciting lust or that acts of divination were involved, then he will need to do the Biblical thing: retract the accusation, apologize to the specific person he accused, and perhaps get some kind of spiritual help as to why he would make such an accusation. That’s true repentance. To do otherwise and call on others to “repent” is to be hypocritical.

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