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The following post is for adults only.

Last week, I posted on Mark Driscoll’s type of Christianity. It’s hard to know how to describe his constant tickling of itching ears in the Seattle area at Mars Hill Church. Who knows what is going on in his church-planting Acts 29 network?

In this post, I cited an article which appeared in the Seattle Times. There, we learn that Mark grew up near a strip club in a working class neighbourhood.

Driscoll also gave the reporter his impressions of Mass in the Roman Catholic Church, in which he was raised (emphases mine):

It was like an aerobics class: stand up, sit down, kneel . . . It never intersected with food, sex, friends, going to college, getting your first job — the things kids think about.

Later on, after he became a Christian of an Evangelical Calvinist sort, he decided he wanted his very own church:

I’d never preached, run a business, gone through seminary.” But “it’s like you’re at the kids’ table at Thanksgiving and someone says: ‘Someday you’ll get to the big table.’ [Forget that]. I’ll just form my own table.

In 2007, Driscoll preached in Edinburgh (Scotland) on the Song of Solomon. He then created a series of sermons on it called The Peasant Princess. The ‘princess’ refers to the young woman in the book, who, Bible scholars say was actually a nobleman’s daughter being oppressed by her brothers. So, in reality she was neither a peasant nor a princess.

In an article from 2009, the Baptist Press described Driscoll’s interpretation of the Song of Solomon:

A May 18 interview with Driscoll, on the syndicated “Family Life” [radio] program hosted by Dennis Rainey, was halted in mid-broadcast after Bott Network founder Dick Bott learned Driscoll was the guest. Bott then cancelled another scheduled interview and ordered all Bott stations not to carry any programs featuring Driscoll …

Bott said he made the decision because of what he saw as Driscoll’s penchant for using vulgarity in his sermons, especially his questionable interpretation of the Song of Solomon in a Nov. 18, 2007, sermon preached in Edinburgh, Scotland, and subsequently in a multi-part series entitled “The Peasant Princess.”

“I’ve seen a lot [about Driscoll] that’s on the Internet and that only makes the whole thing worse,” Bott said. “I’ve seen what he said at that church in Scotland and as far as I know he’s never addressed it in any repentant way or apologetically tried to explain why on earth he got so far off the reservation as to think that that’s the way to address people.”

Driscoll’s Edinburgh sermon included graphic detail to explain his idea that Song of Solomon 2:6 encourages husbands to stimulate their wives by touching private parts of their bodies. He said chapter 7 of the book gives biblical justification for spouses “stripping” for each other and quipped that while lovemaking is better than wine, “lovemaking is great with wine.”

During the sermon, which was entitled “Sex, a Study of the Good Bits from Song of Solomon,” Driscoll interpreted Song of Solomon 2:3 as referring to oral sex and then said, “Men, I am glad to report to you that oral sex is biblical…. The wife performing oral sex on the husband is biblical. God’s men said, Amen. Ladies, your husbands appreciate oral sex. They do. So, serve them, love them well. It’s biblical. Right here. We have a verse. ‘The fruit of her husband is sweet to her taste and she delights to be beneath him.'”

Driscoll went on to tell an anecdote about a wife who he said won her husband to Christ by performing oral sex on him. Driscoll said he told her that giving him oral sex would be following the admonition of Scripture. A transcript of the sermon quotes Driscoll saying he told her, “1 Peter 3 says if your husband is an unbeliever to serve him with deeds of kindness,” referring to oral sex. Verses 1 and 2 of that chapter, however, tell wives it is their “pure and reverent” conduct that will win their unbelieving husbands.

By 2009, Driscoll was already being invited to major American conferences headed by older Calvinist pastors with their own ministries. The Christian Worldview cautioned against giving him more credibility and renown than he merited:

Oddly enough, it was a stand-up comedian, foul-mouthed Chris Rock, whom Mark Driscoll credits with teaching him how to preach. Mark claims this comedian was “a better study in homiletics than most classes on the subject.” (Confessions of a Reformed Rev, pg. 70). Therefore, would he think others should also follow his example, which will require them to fill their mind with curse words and smut in order to learn how to effectively deliver a good sermon?

Admittedly, Mark Driscoll states he is reformed in his thinking, and he can deliver a sound sermon if he wants to. But, that does not negate his reckless, irreverent treatment of God’s Word, and the crude language that proceeds out of his mouth. This only makes his ministry more dangerous. If an enemy of the faith had used the same comedy to mock and pervert the Word of God, we would see this attack for what it is. Moreover, throughout the history of the church, vulgarity and playing fast and loose with Scripture would have immediately been identified as falsehood, error, or a serious character flaw. However, for some reason, today many in the Church are compromising and excusing ungodly behavior coming from the pulpit.

We tread down this new road to our own demise. In the words of A.W. Tozer, We should and must learn that we cannot handle holy things carelessly without suffering serious consequences.

I submit that this ministry attacks the integrity of Scripture, the character of Christ, and feeds the sensual, worldly heart of man. [Emphasis here in the original.] Therefore, out of love for Mark Driscoll and the Body of Christ, there needs to be close examination and scrutiny of this ministry …

Driscoll’s sex advice offers no other scriptural basis for his views other than his interpretation of Song of Solomon. Nor does he discuss scriptural precepts that are at odds with his interpretation, like the Romans 1 warnings about anal sex — “natural for unnatural” — or the exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 4 about “sanctification and honor” in the marriage relationship, rather than “lustful passion, like the Gentiles.”

While no vulgar language was used by Driscoll in his interview with Rainey, Bott said he could not trust Driscoll, given his track record, and that he worried what might be said could damage or offend Bott’s reputation for offering family-friendly programming to a wide range of listeners …

Scriptural admonitions about “unwholesome” speech (Ephesians 4:29) and “filthiness” and “coarse jesting” (Ephesians 5:4) should give pause to any Christian, especially preachers who stand to publicly proclaim the Gospel, Bott said …

He said some of Driscoll’s interpretations of Song of Solomon passages are extreme at best and he is concerned that Driscoll is being hailed as a role model and mentor to too many, particularly young pastors.

Driscoll’s emphasis on women servicing their husbands sexually and pressing the notion of female submission reminds me of Muslim family life. Islam, as practiced, gives the husband to demand from his wife what is his — conjugal rights, whatever time of night. If she does not submit to him, not only that way but in others, he is allowed to beat her. After all, she is his property. Much of practical Islam is intended for the man, not the woman, who is considered in Sharia courts as less of a human than he is.

Driscoll’s preaching is not much different. Sure, his wife Grace takes part with his permission, in panel discussions which he leads. I did see one video of him where she starts to speak and then goes quiet. He looks at her, smiles indulgently and says something like, ‘You can say something, that’s okay’.  So, he has given her his permission.

This over-attentiveness and submission should concern faithful Christians — men and women. We have no business modelling our lives on Islam. The ‘modesty’ issue also plays into this, with Christian women warning others to cover up, because men are too easily led into sexual thoughts. That is exactly what happens among certain devout Muslims. Some Protestant women already insist on wearing veils to church. How long will it be before they are wearing ‘Christian’ hijabs and niqabs?

As far as the Song of Solomon is concerned, Andy Bannister, writing for Answering Islam, tells us:

The primary message of the book is this: that human love, marriage, and, dare I say it, sexual love, are a gift from God. If there is one area of life that we tend to get into trouble over, it is this latter area. On the one hand, you have the worst excesses of Western secular culture, where sex is cheapened and disengaged from love or, at worst, simply used as a marketing tool to sell dishwashers. And at the other extreme, you have what occurs in many Eastern cultures, where sex is seen as totally taboo, dirty, is not talked about, where women are hidden away behind closed doors. These are just two examples of the various errors into which a society can fall — cheapening sex, or writing it off as dirty and taboo. Song of Songs, and indeed other parts of the Bible, correct both errors. The poem we have just read celebrates the joy of sexual love; but within the context of a one-on-one relationship in marriage. The poem commends the shepherd and the maiden for their devoted love to one another, the maiden is praised for guarding her virtue and her virginity against all the advances of Solomon, because she is saving herself for the one she loves and wants to marry. Yet sexual love is also commended and celebrated in the poem as a gift from God to be celebrated and to praise Him for. This theme is not only found in the Song of Songs, but goes right back to the very beginning. For, as we read in the book of Genesis:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

What should concern us is the thought process of the young men in Driscoll’s congregation listening to these sermons. Saying that oral sex is okay is likely to encourage them to think unwholesome thoughts and thereby ignore Driscoll’s veneer of religiosity and cautions. These men could then well say to their wives — current or future — that Pastor Mark said that if a wife truly loves her husband she will perform oral sex on him.

The lady who writes Freedom For Captives warns (emphasis here in the original):

Does anyone else get it? Does anyone else see how sickeningly sexually abusive it is for Driscoll to teach young husbands (by the thousands!) that they can basically demand oral sex from their wives because, he says, the Bible strongly endorses it?! What if that wife is opposed to oral sex? What if she has past sexual abuse issues where her dad or other abuser orally raped her or forced her to perform fellatio on him? Come on, Driscoll, and everyone else, please, open your eyes! This is beyond, waaay beyond merely putting up with a “Christian brother” who has differing theological views than I do.

The man is doing and saying countless things that appear extremely abusive: spiritually, psychologically (verbal/emotional), and now sexually, in that he is outright condemning the poor woman who will not “submit” and make herself perform oral sex for her husband because it “pleases him.” Oh, and then he claims that one believing wife brought her husband to the Lord by performing oral sex on him. Okay.  I see this in John 5:9… NOT!

A few years ago, I read a couple of posts which a youngish member of a Wesleyan church wrote on his own site. He extolled Driscoll’s videos and sermons, saying that they were biblically sound. This chap, who was single with no marital prospects at the time, said that he expected his wife to be fully independent during the day, know how to handle a firearm, homeschool the kids, clean the house, make meals from scratch and — in the evenings when he was home — totally submit to him!  Ladies — be careful whom you date. That is the profile of one Driscoll admirer.

In response to her post, Freedom For Captives heard from another Driscoll admirer:

For the record I’m a 19 year old white guy, I have struggled with porno in the past, I have treated women badly in the past and Mark Driscoll has done so much to turn me away from porn and get me to treat women right. So, please keep criticizing this man of God, get angry at everything he says, keep singling him out. As for me I am going to back this faithfull preacher of the Gospel. I will hope for him, I will pray for him and I will thank God for him and on judgement day I am going to be in the crowd smiling as Christ says to Mark Driscoll “Well done good and faithfull servant”

For the record im not going to read anything else anyone posts on here. So however you choose to argue against me, it doesnt matter, you can load up your gun, but there are no deer in the forest, no ducks in the barrel, no monkeys in the trees, no nuts in the bundle… no fries left in the happy meal… im done, I wont respond any more or read any more.
bye
Blog away!

Note how this young man, speaking as Driscoll would, is granting a woman who is probably old enough to be his mother the permission to continue blogging without him! The arrogance.

Freedom For Captives responded:

You may not read this, fine. But your response truly baffles and saddens me. I simply cannot comprehend how you could read those quotes of Mark’s, (in my June 29 comment, as quoted from The Christian World View [cited above]), find humor in them (???) and then say you now “treat women right”… pardon me, but how can that be?

You’re 19. I’m glad you shared that… I’ve stated before that the more I read of Mark, the more I think he comes across as being at the developmental level of an 8th grade boy… His apparent emotional immaturity has been noted by many others besides myself.

Mark has apparently mocked the holiness of our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, I don’t think God takes kindly to that. He has also apparently caused much damage to women and to men in his oppressive, anti-biblical teaching about women, men, marriage and sex… I don’t think he will get the “well done” on any of that.

None of us is perfect. But, when someone is a leader in Christ’s name, and leader of thousands no less, he will reap the harsher judgment for steering people wrong (see the book of James: not many of you should aspire to be teachers…) and for shaming the name of Christ.

She added in another comment:

If Paul, writing through/in the Holy Spirit, or rather the Holy Spirit writing through him, wanted to indicate authority, leader, one in charge, top dog, etc, he would have used the word commonly used for that in those times in that culture, which if I remember correctly was something like “archeon.” But he used head, “kephale,” (forgive me if misspelled) which means source

And, yes, what is confusing at times is that Mark can and does say/teach some really good things… at times… But as a friend pointed out to me the other day, “A little poison will still kill you.” And I would say that there appears to be more than a little poison in the overall message that Driscoll offers, and in the apparently controlling/bullying way he offers it– repeatedly, in patterns, consistently over time.

I’ve watched a few Driscoll videos, as many as I could stomach, and his carnal message outweighs his Christian message. I did not hear a mention of grace, freedom for the spiritually oppressed or anything on Christ and Him crucified.

This new type of preaching is called ‘missional’. Today’s definition of ‘missional’ has nothing to do with the most godly evangelists of the 19th and 20th centuries but instead plays to a congregation’s carnality.

Tomorrow: Mark Driscoll versus the sanctity of marriage

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