Mark Driscoll is a man, preacher, and pastor who I appreciate. I am thankful for his preaching which I have benefitted from via podcast on occasion and I am thankful for his work in creating a growing church planting network (Acts 29).
But oftentimes, Driscoll makes my brow furrow and one eyebrow raise. The tweet/Facebook post above is a recent example. A few thoughts cane to mind when I first read it.
1) Warlocks? Yowza. I hope they have robes and/or a sweet cloak. Are they modern-day Jedis? Ok, on a serious note, I was a little surprised to hear about a man identifying himself as a male who practices magic arts. I was only a little surprised because I have been in a bookstore with books that focus on the etymology of angelic languages and so the weird and wacky (and likely dark and demonic) things people involve themselves in don't really surprise me. Nevertheless, you don't meet someone who dabbles in the "magic" and demonic every day.
2) Amen and hallelujah for God's powerful, saving grace that transforms dead men and frees captives from sin and death! New life and repentance is most definitely something to rejoice in. I don't want the glorious miracle of new birth and indelible love of God to be overshadowed in any way by my words here.
3) Here's my point of contention: Driscoll claims that God said to him, "This one is mine and I love him." Regardless of the mode of supposed communication from God, be it an audible voice or a "mental TV", I have an extremely hard time accepting this type of spirituality according to my understanding of Scripture. If God were to tell me who he loves and/or who he conversely does not love, this could create some real problems within the body of Christ. If we were able to hear God's voice in such a unique manner as Driscoll has described God communicating to himself in the past, then why aren't we all flocking to Seattle to find out who God loves? Wouldn't Christians who have a strong burden for a lost person they care for want to hear such words?
When a church leader makes these kind of statements, he is implicitly expressing a level of authority granted to him that may not be available to other Christians. I mean, I have never experienced God communicating to me in such a way, so I should logically go and receive a word from God from those who God speaks to in such a unique manner.
The issue boils down to authority. If God is speaking to Christians in the manner that Driscoll describes, this elevates the recipient of this direct revelation to a greater level authority than the normal Christian who does not hear from God in this special way and effectually erodes the authority of Scripture and the normal, everyday means of grace that God has given to us in the precious gift of the complete, inspired Bible.
That said, it is very important for Christians to be careful what they say, especially those given responsibility and influence in the Church. The tiniest phrase can ignite a firestorm (James 3). We must carefully evaluate our words at all times and guard against irresponsible statements.
I guess that's all I have to say about that.
UPDATE: There was some clarification Driscoll put out on his original tweet. You can find it here. It seems I was wrong in interpreting what Driscoll was saying, but nevertheless I still have a big bone to pick about God directly speaking to people in this manner.