The Defiled Conscience: Should We Lovingly Help or Sharply Rebuke?


“And what we don’t want to do is say everybody binds everyone by their conscience with things that the Scripture doesn’t bind us by, right? Usually everybody’s bound by the preacher’s conscience. I don’t want to bind you by my conscience; I want the Holy Spirit to bind your conscience, and I want you to obey your conscience.” ~Mark Driscoll, in his sermon “The Weaker Christian”

I’m eager to explore what the Lord has been showing me about the defiled conscience. It has much bearing on where we are in the church of Jesus Christ in this day.

The weak conscience: recap

In Part One of the conscience series I explored what is meant by the “weak conscience” in a Christian.

A weak conscience is one that lacks the full strength of understanding of what Christ has accomplished for them and who they are in ChristThe result is believing that certain morally neutral activities would affect that standing.

I also discussed how the weak conscience can be manipulated by spiritual abusers, resulting in

— confusion over right and wrong, as well as

— guilt and shame when one has done nothing wrong.

That fact—the guilt and shame when one has done nothing wrong—is immensely important in the life of the body of Christ.

The weak conscience can become defiled

First Corinthians 8:7 says that if the believer with the weak conscience partakes of something he thinks will spiritually defile him, there’s a danger that his conscience will be defiled, or “soiled” or “contaminated.”

This means the one who has believed in Christ will bear the guilt and shame of having sinned, even if he has done nothing wrong. From what I can see, there are two types of situations that can cause a weak conscience to become defiled: Continue reading “The Defiled Conscience: Should We Lovingly Help or Sharply Rebuke?”

“Conscience” in the Bible: Insight Into Abusers and Their Targets

Scout’s honor, I didn’t start out to make this a blog post about Mark Driscoll. I was thinking about how those with hardened/polluted/jettisoned/seared consciences take advantage of those with sensitive/weak consciences, and I wanted to study conscience in the Bible to understand it all better, and then post about what I had learned.

So I did the Bible study, learned a lot, and then wanted to see what other people were saying about the conscience. In the middle of all that, another former member of Mars Hill Church (which had imploded after the many scandals of the Driscoll debacle) decided to speak publicly about the spiritual abuse she and others endured, and in that interview she talked about his conscience.

Mark Driscoll Uncle Sam wants you
Mark Driscoll admonishing his listeners.

That led me down a very intriguing trail, which I have to say, made a study of the conscience a whole lot more compelling. Continue reading ““Conscience” in the Bible: Insight Into Abusers and Their Targets”