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Mark Driscoll The Trinity Church

Mark Driscoll Vindicated? Alex Magala Responds, Espouses Universalism

Last week was defined by the controversial sword swallowing demonstration at a so-called men’s conference hosted by James River Church. After Mark Driscoll called out the event for its “Jezebel spirit,” which got him booted from the stage by John Lindell, the Christian world reacted to this zany theatre which was exhibited at a church function. Overall, it became an embarrassment for all parties. Driscoll capitulated in a struggle session. Meanwhile, Lindell has since called on his church members to excommunicate Driscoll during his effeminate self-immolation. At the time, it was pointed out that the disagreement between Driscoll and Lindell hinged on whether Magala was a genuine believer.

Alex Magala, the sword swallower himself, has opened his mouth via Instagram to set the record straight in a twelve-minute video. He began the reel thanking the James River Church community for its support and expressed gladness for working with them. More importantly, he explains his faith and worldview:

After watching a video yesterday from John Lindell explaining and, just defending me, I just wanted to clear some details. So first of all, I have no kids. I have a family. I have no kids yet, so that’s number one. And secondly, some sources say that I was saved by God around 10 years ago, which is not correct. Because I’m an Orthodox Christian and… [that] means that I get through the ceremony of becoming a Christian as a baby. So pretty much all my family is an Orthodox Christian and me as well. With that said, I had no problem going to attending a Baptist Church in Los Angeles, Mosaic Church with Pastor Erwin McManus. Primarily because my friends were going there and just in general, there are good people, and in Los Angeles, it’s really hard to find honest and just in general good people so. First, you know it was a circle of friends and 2nd is I found a lot of wisdom in in Bible stories that even McManus was sharing with us.

While John Lindell touted his affiliation with Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, Magala presents himself as a casual attendee whose connection with that church as being a social gathering of his friends. He also conflates baptism with being a Christian. While his linguistic limitations might inhibit his ability to convey his precise thoughts, there does appear to be a belief that because he was baptized Eastern Orthodox, that he is a Christian.

He then goes on to address the Eastern meditation that he performed.

You know, I see videos of like some church Youtubers judging me that I’m like in the meditation pose in Bali. Look, I was taking a tour and I have no problem. Experiencing or going through the ceremony and get to know other cultures, other languages, other people. Because my number one focus is meeting good people and just get to know the philosophy of this religion or that religion. I have friends that are Buddhists, Buddhist monks…If I’m a black belt in Ju Jitsu, that doesn’t mean that I cannot attend a karate class. They’re just gonna make me a better martial artist, more versatile martial artist, so I’m not locking myself into going to one thing or another thing. I’m just loyal to my friends, but not to some temple or one church so my number one focus is to make friends.

Magala expresses a buffet style of religiosity which seems to imply that all religions offer similar values to Christianity, with Mosaic Church in LA just being one group of friends and his Buddhist monk friend being another. The comparison of religion to marital arts further clarifies this a la carte approach to religion and spirituality.

Regarding Driscoll’s contention that Magala is not a genuine Christian, he is vindicated by this Instagram post, which unfortunately expresses universalism from Magala.

Magala would go on to explain the nature of sword swallowing and his career path. He disputes the stripper comparisons, that removing his vest was a necessary step to the believability of his act while also distinguishing go-go dancing from stripping. However, a simple internet search would clearly outline that the Venn Diagram between Stripping and Go-Go Dancing has increasingly become a circle since the concept was invented in the 1960s. Regardless of Magala’s opinion, there is little, if any, distinction between these two types of dancers.

Yet it must be noted that Driscoll was probably unaware of Alex Magala’s identity and viewed the performance in light of his “Jezebel Spirit” theology rather than Magala’s background, which is more concerning than the debate of whether a Chinese acrobat pole is equivalent to a stripper pole.

While the Alex Magala saga will soon subside, his espoused universalism is shared by many in the world and many inside the church participate in Eastern mysticism activities. Both yoga and karate have Eastern mysticism inextricably rooted at their core. How many in the church are sampling other religions while claiming Christianity?

Driscoll might be vindicated despite his skewed theology, but truly, this entire ordeal is just one large embarrassment for everyone involved. 

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3 Responses

  1. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…does that include naked, new age, sword swallowers?

  2. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Does that include naked, new age, sword swallowers?

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