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Properly Understanding Mark 16:9-20 to Debunk Greg Locke's Demonology

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So, what do we do with these verses then? Since we believe in an all-powerful God, we believe He decided what made the cut into the canon of scripture at the Council of Nicaea, and that would include verses 9-20, credited to Mark. Even though verse eight presents a more likely and better conclusion to the gospel, we need to examine the added verses to determine their usage. There does not appear to be any contradictory information, which one would expect from a perfect God. That said, we should not create doctrine solely from these verses. This means we have to make sure we have supporting scripture elsewhere. The general historical narrative can be laid aside for the synoptic gospels support Jesus appearances post-crucifixion. From verse 14 on however, we get into the Great Commission and the signs and wonders verses that so many false teachers like Greg Locke latch onto. Verse 15 contains the go into all the world command. This appears in other gospel accounts, such as Matthew 28, so there is no problem relying upon it in Mark. Verse 16 contains the controversial line about baptism being potentially related to salvation. Entire false denominations have been based on misinterpreting this verse but more importantly, this notion does not exist anywhere else in the bible. So only in the questionable section of Mark do we find this and as such, we can dismiss it theologically. It also says that he who believes will be saved but we do not need to rely on these verses for that because it is a consistent theme throughout scripture.

Verse 17 starts more serious theological issues. After the resurrection of Christ there is no discussion of picking up serpents, drinking poison, or casting out demons. Not as it is related to Christians. For a more obvious example of misunderstanding these verses there are actual churches that practice the picking up of lethal serpents during service. Pastors in this absurd cult have died from snakebites as a result and the practice continues. Remember these verses were probably added, centuries after the fact, by a transcriber who had their own false beliefs. This verse also mentions speaking in tongues but again, we do not need to rely upon this because Paul discusses tongues at length. That leaves us with casting out demons, which is the central cog of Greg Locke's ministry. There are certainly demons cast out during the ministry of Jesus but to what extent do we translate that into actionable doctrine for believers? Locke tries to leverage the Mark verses because he knows he has no other directive scripture. He only has anecdotal historical narrative. Here is the problem. I assume even Greg Locke would agree that this scripture does instruct us to pick up serpents. I would hope he agrees we are not instructed to drink poison. Then why in the world would you conclude this instructs us to cast demons out? You should not conclude such and you definitely cannot base it on Mark 16:9-20. Mind you, I am not suggesting the involvement of demonic activity is not real. The bible makes it clear that it is. It is trying to use these scriptures and the fact that Jesus cast out legion to parlay it into a ministry where Greg Locke pretends to do the same thing every week that is biblically moronic and offensive. What Locke and his contemporaries like Isaiah Saldivar, Vladimir Savchuk, and Alexander Pagani do is they create a "demon behind every bush" myth and they sell it to undiscerning folks. Are you feeling down because your spouse left or a relative died - demon! Are you battling an addiction - demon! Are you having trouble reading the bible - demon! Most time we feel what we feel for a reason. We choose to sin because we are sinners by nature. Not everything is demonic influence. I will not even get into possession because some people have seen too many Exorcists movies and not done enough bible reading. Locke continues:

"It's a tragedy that many large denominations continue teaching that the gifts Jesus addresses in this passage no longer apply to us today. I know people who have become so incredibly bitter and discouraged over this passage and others like it that they now deal with deep depression. Some have even taken their own lives, all because they could not reconcile what the Bible clearly says with what their grandfather or their ex-pastor told them it says. In these last of the last days, it's time to take off the denominational lens and learn to read the Bible exactly as it was written." - Greg Locke

Once again, I agree that we need to read the bible exactly how it was written, and that excludes Mark 16:9-20, unless supported elsewhere. I do not know of anyone who committed suicide over not understanding bible passages. There is no reason to be bitter over these passages. We must understand what they are, what they say, and more importantly - what they do not say. Not sure if you noted the sleight of hand here. These commands list five "signs" that will accompany believers. Only two of them can be called gifts and not within this context. Tongues is listed as a gift elsewhere as is the gift of healing. Drinking poison successfully, picking up serpents and casting out demons are not discussed as "gifts" anywhere else in scripture AND are not discussed as such here either! Locke deftly changes the word signs to gifts so he can pretend this is a matter of cessationism verses continuationism - it is not. The argument is premised inaccurately as well. Solid congregations do not teach these are gifts not in operation anymore. They simply teach correctly to not create doctrine out of these scriptures or these signs.

"At the top of our key passage, in verse 15, we see that it starts out pretty easy to understand. It's the Great Commission crystallized in black and white. Simply put, we are to herald the truth of the gospel. Romans 1:16 says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." And 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 tells us what the gospel is: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There's no social gospel, there's no medical gospel, and there's no civic gospel. There's only a saving gospel. I find it interesting that in Mark 16:15 Jesus tells us what to do, who to do it to, when to do it and where to do it, but He never tells us how to do it. That's because every generation has to figure out how to effectively preach the gospel to their culture without compromising the integrity of the gospel itself. Some people use media, some people use the internet, some people use a tent, some people use a bus or even a motorcycle. Some just hoof it on foot. In the context of the full passage, Jesus just told us to use our gifts to go preach the gospel to a lost community of individuals. Everybody wants to have a gospel that's soft-served and peddled to them all nice and neat. Galatians 5:11 warns us not to take the offense out of the gospel, yet that's what we have today"churches and pastors trying to take the offense out of the cross of Christ. We want to tell you about Jesus, but we don't want to be offensive. We want to tell you about heaven, but we don't want to offend you with the prospect of hell. It's offensive to hear that you are dead, doomed, damned and depraved, but we all need to know the hard truth so we can understand the gift of God's grace." - Greg Locke

Wow, and I thought the demonology was poorly constructed doctrine. There is no instruction from Jesus in these verses because they were not written by Mark. Even if they were these are not discussed as gifts! Not even by the scribe! The reason why the false gospel of Greg Lock is so offensive is that it is false! I agree that a balanced gospel contains both the law and the grace of God but that has nothing to do with holding demonic deliverance services. It is cunning and deceitful for Locke to close with the proper representation of the gospel after writing an article completely opposed to it. Remember his argument here is that the notion of demonology and deliverance are related to gifts that are not being taught by the church anymore. His sole basis however is to leverage a portion of scripture everyone knows is suspect and rely upon the portions of that compromised passage that are not supported anywhere else in the bible. He does this to create out of whole cloth a false gospel that focuses on his schtick rather than the saving gospel of Jesus Christ he tries to tie it to. He fails however and badly. False signs and lying wonders is just as eternally tragic a false gospel as the soft-served fluffy one he rails against. It should be obvious, but mark and avoid Greg Locke.

Reverend Anthony Wade - September 12, 2023

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 
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