Flashback: Mars Hill Church’s Mark Driscoll Badly Discerned the ‘Twilight’ Series

Years before Mars Hill Church fell, its popular pastor stumbled into poor “discernment” of fantasy fiction.
on Sep 9, 2021 · 3 comments

Thanks to the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast, Christians are recalling the collapse of the Seattle megachurch and its mega-pastor, Mark Driscoll.

Some of us at the Lorehaven team, however, recently remembered how this pastor missed the mark on fantasy discernment.

Back in August 2010, I wrote a brief SpecFaith article about how the self-styled “Pastor Mark” missed the mark when rant-“discerning” the infamous teen-vampire series. Someone hid the original video. This backup video has terrible resolution but provides a source.

With the exception of the “solid pastor” and “biblically grounded church” lines(!), I basically agree with my take back then.1

Demons, Driscoll and Discerning ‘Twilight’ (Aug. 11, 2010)

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 Corinthians 8:4)? Should Christian leaders act as though real demons lurk behind every cult, lie, and controversial book series? 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 [sic], 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?

  1. We’ve added some polish to the original text.
E. Stephen Burnett explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of Lorehaven.com and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.
  1. Great article. Then and now. It speaks to the same problem I have with historical archaeology vids that try to say “We don’t know how these ancient backwards people could have built this. Must be aliens…” Because it is assumed that due to Evolution they were stupider and genetically inferior back then (when the opposite is true.)

    We’re certainly all more than capable of sinning without the devil’s help.
    (But also certainly can’t get out of that sin without the blood of Christ.)

What say you?