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Demons, Driscoll and Discerning ‘Twilight’

One of America’s most well-known megachurch pastors isn’t taking a shine to a certain teen-vampire megaseries. But calling for Biblical discernment does not equal Biblical discernment, Mark Driscoll is overdoing the whole “demons inspired these books” notion.
| Aug 11, 2010 | No comments |

One of America’s most well-known megachurch pastors isn’t taking a shine to a certain teen-vampire megaseries.

That’s a ten-minute video, during which Driscoll mostly scrolls through slides showing teen clone fantasy/goth/horror titles, and mocks and slams each one of them. Most of the mocks are deserving. And many of his concerns are warranted, especially if these titles really are on Amazon’s recommended-reading list for teen girls.

But I wonder if Driscoll’s overdoing the whole demon thing.

  1. Should a Christian claim to know exactly whether a book series, or even a false religion like Mormonism, was started by demons?
  2. Doesn’t that fail to give “credit” to corrupt human beings, who are quite creative enough in writing bad stuff without demons’ help?
  3. What about the apostle Paul’s reminders, in Romans 14 and especially 1 Corinthians 8, that “an idol has no real existence” (1 Cor. 8:4)? Should Christian leaders act as though behind every cult, lie and bad book series is a real demon? And if we can know that for sure, why would Paul not say that? (As to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that the princes of the power of the air work through personification of idols. …) Instead, the apostle based his case about avoiding idols on the fact that they’re utterly useless.

Even if demons do originate or spread lies in a particular instance, God has not revealed that to us. I argue He likely would not, given the sufficiency of Scripture to make discerning choices.

So Christians who choose to avoid Twilight or its many teen-vamp clone books should do that to glorify God, not just to Avoid Demons.

Driscoll is a solid pastor, and has built a Biblically grounded church in one of the most secular regions of the country (Seattle, Washington). Yet in this case, methinks he’s not basing discernment on the right reasons.

What do you think?

E. Stephen Burnett explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as editor in chief of Lorehaven Magazine and writer at Speculative Faith. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin area and serve as members of Southern Hills Baptist Church.

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Stuart Stockton
Member

*Disclaimer: I haven’t read the Twilight books or any other of the books shown in the video. I have recently seen the first two Twilight movies to try and stay informed.

Personally, while I have no doubt that there could be demonic influence in inspiring people, I wouldn’t feel comfortable stating such a thing as fact. I also think that taking that tact would immediately discount your opinion with far more people than it would influence.

I don’t think discerning the origin of a work is nearly as important as discerning what it is telling you.

I’d rather focus on what is faulty with the worldview being promoted and what flaws are involved. For instance, with twilight the very skewed and unhealthy portrayal of “true love” between Edward and Bella.

I do hope that as the sermon went on he turned toward things that can be discerned as good. Too many times I think we get all caught up in “avoid this at all costs!” without giving any alternatives. And I don’t mean presenting a “Christian Twilight” but “here are some good examples of being able to discern a positive message”.

I mean you need to be able to discern what is good as well as what is bad.

Esther
Guest
Esther

I felt that Driscoll certainly showed how he felt about those types of books, and offered a questionable source for them, but failed (at least in that ten minutes) to give a good, biblical foundation on “how to choose good books” or at the very least “how to read a book and discern it’s message”. I guess that’s pretty much saying what Stuart said.

I did think it was kinda funny. He really got worked up over it.

Timothy Stone
Member

The problem with this belief is the presumptuousness of it all. It reminds me of a response of Cal Thomas to those like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who stated after 9/11 that it was God’s judgment on America for abortion and so forth. He said that his pastor admitted it could be true, but that he didn’t know enough to say so or not, because God doesn’t tell us these individual things or not.

I am not saying by the following comparison that Twilight and other vampire fiction is the same as Harry Potter or Star Wars, but this does remind me of the reactions of some Christians to both of those. I remember being told that the idea of the Force was anti-Christian, when it was actually steeped in a variety of religious ideas, including Christianity. With Harry Potter, I was told for years that they supported Wiccans, paganism, were Satanic, and the characters used ouje boards. None of this is true.

None of this is too say that the pastor isn’t right on some of his critiques, but that such over the top performances and accusations are not just tactless and will turn people against the Bible, but they also are quite frankly UNSCRIPTURAL. That level of presumptuousness assigns evil to some people that we can not know, and suggests that God gave this pastor special knowledge over the rest of us. I hate to break it to people, but there is no Scriptural basis to so-called “word of knowledge” stuff, and that is what this sounds like.

I understand disliking this stuff, but I get angry at the Scriptural problems and at the fact that if people trust these leaders, they will listen to them if they are wrong. I feel foolish for listening to my old pastors’ rantings on Harry Potter and not knowing the truth til I read it just a few years back, and that makes me furious!

Kirsty
Guest

What’s odd about this is that he seems to be saying that you should reject these books based solely on their cover pictures or titles. As anyone who reads books knows, cover illustrations often bear no resemblance to the content of the book.

And as for the titles: While this probably isn’t the case, for all we know ‘The Necromancer” could be about a necromancer who is defeated by an army of fluffy bunnies, and “The Sorceress” could be about a sorceress who repents and becomes a christian missionary…

Of course, we do all judge books by their covers & titles. And there’s no harm in that. But it doesn’t seem right to tell people they ought to automatically reject a book based on these things.