Welcome to the Circus

*** Preface. My buddy Brent has given some inside info in regards to the Genesis of this debate that most of us were unaware of. His information seriously hinders the integrity of my pressupositions that brought about this post. This being the case, please read the comments to find out how big of an idiot I am. But also take Ryan’s comment into consideration regarding the few good points I actually make.***


A lot of Christians I know are excited about the recent Nightlight debate about “The Existence of Satan.” They shouldn’t be.

Like a bad reality television show, the producers arrganged a debate not to come to any conclusion about humanity, or in this case, Satan. Rather they put four polarizing quote machines on stage hoping that a mosaic of chaotic one-liners would ensue.

Mission accomplished.

Lobert and Driscoll on stage


Let me start off with my team. I know Mark Driscoll. I know people that know Annie Lobert. Here’s why they were chosen:

On stage Driscoll is a loud mouthed, excitable one-liner quote machine of Christian pop-culture (he is many other things as well, many of them I am fond of, but I am assuming that none of those were why he was chosen for this debate). Listen to about 50 sermons and you will notice the recycled one-liners and soon be able to call them out before they come (note: he would no doubt conclude this as well. His sermon outlines dictate that he simply recycle his well prepared analogies and jokes around the Big Idea [shout out to Haddon Robinson] of the passage.) As he has shown by his recent media appearances: this is one of the main things “Pastor Dude” is good for.

Side note: I believe Mark to be one of the smartest and most theologically equipped theologians I know. But his recent media appearances have fed into certain stereotypes of his persona. His quick one-liners mixed with theology are so good for news media because they illicit such a visceral gut reaction either good or bad. Mark is a great theologian, but that is not why he is being interviewed by the media. Just for the record, D.A. Carson isn’t making any major news outlets for quotes or interviews.

Lobert was not chosen because of her compelling testimony, rather for her image, the bombastic nature of her ministry (which I am not in disagreement with) and her great claim that she was raped by Satan/demons. Not a theologian, simply a piece of the circus, of whom I can only guess producers hoped would be emotionally driven.

Super side note: I am not trying to bad mouth or say I do not like these people. I love Mark and am very grateful for Annie. I am simply trying to show why I think they were chosen for this debate.

Chopra came off as a pretentious know-it-all, so I’m guessing that’s why he was involved. And the other guy seemed, and probably is, nuts so there you go (plus he was black, and ABC probably wanted to even the race card out).

I sent the link of this interview to someone I knew that didn’t really have a horse in the race and this was his response (note, I sent this to him before I had a chance to watch the debate):

“Bro, you MUST watch these, hilarity will ensue, I promise!
-First off, who the hell (pun intended) picked these four people expecting a true debate?”

I know that many Christians are very excited that the gospel was preached (very well by Pastor Dude), as am I. I know that many are excited by how Driscoll came off, which wasn’t that bad. But we must not miss the bigger picture. We as Christians, the idea of Satan, and one of the most prominent leaders of the “New Calvinism” were made a mockery of. And it is really dangerous when you are being made fun of and don’t realize it. When this happens your voice doesn’t carry much weight, and your topic is automatically straw-maned. It doesn’t matter if it is justified or not.

So Christians, Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert especially: you are being made a mockery of. You were picked to be a part of this circus because they thought you would make for entertainment. Not because they value our/your opinion.

Let’s reconsider how excited, and furthermore, how we promote these circuses.

– matt


4 Responses

  1. Matt,

    If it is of any concern:

    Annie Lambert is a British actress. The woman in the debate is Annie Lobert.

  2. matt –

    I agree without just about everything, but I’ll take issue with a couple points (just for kicks):

    1) Mark was not chosen for this debate, he “soft-pitched” it to the producers during his Nightline interview a few weeks back. One of the big reasons they bought into it (besides your points on personality) is that we have a free venue that has the technological infrastructure to run a tv show (after the Nightline interview it got out that we have all this technology, including satellite up-link and a green screen studio, and we got on a short-list of people from our “camp” to call on for interviews and what have you.)

    2) As for being made a mockery of (I don’t think it came off that bad); if that is the highest price to be paid in spreading the gospel (clearly Mark’s primary intention was not to debate, but an opportunity for gospel presentation), it is much less than many have had to pay.

    ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. – Jn 15:20

    And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. – Mk 10:34

    always good to catch up

    Cheers – brent

  3. Wow brent, thanks for the great insight as to the reasons behind the debate and Mark’s motivations.

    I just finished watching it and will offer a few thoughts.

    1. This was not a debate about Satan, in fact Dr. Chopra even says at the end there is a Satan to balance out God, a yin yang so to speak. The debate was about evil/good and who is Jesus.

    2. Matt is partially right, this was somewhat of a circus. It was designed to not engage with reason but to get people fired up and “spar” with each other. Mark should use great wisdom to choose his media platforms wisely. Opportunities that allow for exchanges that respect the seriousness of matters that are being discussed. What I mean by this is you would not have a serious conversation with your spouse in a crowded elevator; the environment is not respectful or conducive for the conversation. I am not saying that is what happened with this debate but it does seem to dance on that line. Where I would disagree with Matt is that I did find value in hearing Mark share the Gospel. Cogent, kind and compelling. Of course I have been accused of being a Driscoll “fanboy” (whatever that means) so my opinion might be skewed.

    3. I have heard Chopra pontificate many times about the certainty of his uncertainty. He even says at one point all he says is just his interpretation. If that is the case why does he continue writing books and holding seminars to impose his beliefs/interpretation upon others? His false humility is exposed by his strong opinions and having more answers to the “infinite” than even the most militant Muslim.

    4. When I get in these good/evil conversations I just go to the great “who says?” You can not even begin to take the words good and evil out of your vocabulary toolbox without first answering who said this is good or evil and why should I accept it? When one is unwilling or unable to answer the “who says” question and only appealing to the “divine collective, enlightened spirit” all they have done is express preference. They have simply taken you to the Baskin Robbins of morality and told you what their favorite flavor is. There is nothing transcendent or universal about that specific good or evil. Its just what they like.

  4. Matt–

    I haven’t seen the debate but I found this post and the comments immensely entertaining.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: