Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A defense of Driscoll to the left

This is an unusual post for me. Normally this blog attacks Patriarchy and Complementarianism. My opinion hasn't shifted on that. This blog has ended up being very critical of Conservative Reformed Christianity, and my opinion on that has shifted in the last 2 years in a very negative direction. When I started I thought the problems were much less frequent and much less deep than I do today.

So why write a defense of Mark Driscoll? Well because a great many of the problems in conservative reformed Christianity are countered by Driscoll. He separates off the bible from a whole range of political and social conservative positions and presents a new vision for what evangelical Christianity could look like. In other words he achieves the goal of the emerging church movement even though he no longer associates himself with it. It is the missional core which I think puts him in a totally different category than the Josh Harris, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul.... clan.

Quite simply the core idea of the neo-evangelical movement founded by Harold Ockenga was to separate Christian theology from Christian culture as a matter of working principle. A good example which is less controversial today was Moody's belief that there was no need to change the dietary habits of Eastern European converts, "The great commission is not a command to convert the world to Anglo-Saxonism". If one considers neo-evangelicalism to be a legitimate endeavor, that is disagrees with fundamentalism and liberalism that such a separation is impossible then it is hard to see what Driscoll is doing as being inconsistent with the absolute core goal of the neo-evangelical movement.
Without directly implicating MacArthur, Driscoll distinguishes between missionaries who study culture and fundamentalists who try to avoid culture.
"Fundamentalism is really losing the war, and I think it is in part responsible for the rise of what we know as the more liberal end of the emerging church," Driscoll says. "Because a lot of what is fueling the left end of the emerging church is fatigue with hardcore fundamentalism that throws rocks at culture. But culture is the house that people live in, and it just seems really mean to keep throwing rocks at somebody's house." (Christianity today article on Driscoll)
Driscoll built his ministry on 4 points.
  1. The Church is primarily middle aged and female. In particular men 22-25 are the least likely to go to church. This is very bad.
  2. Thus the church needs an outreach to young men.
  3. However, the reason young men are not attracted to the church is a systematic problem with the way church is usually conducted. So churches that want to break from this mold need to "do church" with a very different flavor.
  4. In particular what is needed is a to build churches that are theologically orthodox but culturally young and masculine.
One can watch the video the Church needs dudes to hear Driscoll reconstruct this argument in his own words. And if you look at the Acts29 churches I think his objective has been achieved. The core defense of Driscoll from within a neo-evangelical framework is whether people agree with these 4 points or not.

The first question is, is it bad that church is primarily female? Do we need an outreach to young men, and is acceptable to change the character of churches so that they become young men friendly; that is "affirming" of their gender and their identity?

I'd assume most neo-evangelicals would answer this question that yes it is bad. Christianity seeks converts of both sexes and if churches are some way systematically failing to reach you men that should be addressed. Driscoll himself makes an interesting argument that not only is it bad from an evangelical standpoint but leads to lack of aggression and creativity.

As he puts it "the church is run by nice soft 'chickified' church boys". Church attire in his opinion is very effeminate for example men's clothing in pastels. In his opinion the decor in most churches is effeminate and the music is emotionally charged and effeminate. This sort of environment is hostile to to aggressive young men. That is exactly the sorts of young men who are likely to be entrepreneurs. That is a marketing strategy targeted at women in their 40s will be unsuccessful with men in their 20s. So all of these aspects need to change in a church targeting young (20s) single men who are college educated and innovative (aggressive). All those aspects changed, further Driscoll developed a preaching style that he modeled on Chris Rock, a communicator who is able to effectively communicate with young men.

In terms of longer term goals, Driscoll believes that if that aggressive men are involved when young then they will marry and bring in their families so that this style of outreach is not self limiting. Moreover he sees this failure as being why evangelical Christianity is shrinking. In Driscoll's view Church planting is primarily a matter of natural talent followed by training. Most churches choose men who lack the correct natural talent and then apply an aggressive training program. The reason they do this is that most churches can't handle young entrepreneurial men. These men are the ones who are likely to question leadership, are thus seen as "trouble makers" and driven away. But in Driscoll's view, if you want innovative churches you need this sort of man.

Finally, Driscoll believes that the church environment is unbiblical. He cites David, Paul, John the Baptist, as being the sort of man he has trouble picturing "wearing sweater vests singing love songs to Jesus".

I'd also conclude by addressing the issue of Driscoll on sex. In my opinion where Driscoll has been most often attacked is for saying uncomfortable truths about male sexuality. His comments on things like middle aged weight gain, lack of oral sex or lack of frequent sex as being causes of adultery are politically incorrect and true. The question for the left wing critics is can a preacher honestly address women on the issue of male sexuality or do we need to keep pretending that sexual boredom and adultery are uncorrelated events?

See also:

103 comments:

Peter Kirk said...

Great post! You almost make me love Driscoll. But such a shame that he remains so strongly complementarian, in a way which makes him look misogynist.

freedom4captives said...

I appreciate that you are being fair minded and looking for what you might be able to appreciate in Driscoll's ministry. I, too, did this for awhile, until my spirit became so exceedingly grieved at all the anti-biblical, anti-woman, anti-love & worship of Jesus (because it's 'chickified') teachings/attitudes, that I can no longer separate Driscoll from any of that. I have also read countless testimonies of the horrendous damage he has caused to who knows how many! I have seen way too many implications in Driscoll and in MH of what appears to be spiritual/church abuse--see my “About” and “Discoveries” pages at freedom4captives dot wordpress dot com and my spiritual abuse posts).

One of your paragraphs for which you are applauding Driscoll, deeply grieves me, and it is the one beginning with:

"As he puts it "the church is run by nice soft 'chickified' church boys..."

Do you see how threatened this man appears to be regarding anything feminine, or soft, or tender? This man is troubled by decor and clothing for crying out loud if it at all appears feminine! And regarding the "emotionally charged" worship piece, well, I attended one of his services at Ballard and the worship was DEAD. Oh, it was grunge all right, and loud (aggressive!) but there was no spirit of adoration and deep heart-felt love for our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But perhaps to Mark, the grunge made it "dudified" so that is okay, that is even desirable to him. But it did not feel like WORSHIP.

And the church environment has been "hostile to aggressive young men..." as if that is a bad thing. Would Paul have pandered, and should we be pandering, to aggressive young men? I don’t think so. Immaturity and aggression are things the Holy Spirit will purge us of in time as we cooperate with him. But on the contrary, Driscoll certainly seems to lift up that kind of role model (yelling at abusers, describing with glee how he went to the dorm rooms of his, then girlfriend, Grace's college verbally abusing all the young men by threatening to beat them up if they so much as talked to or even thought about talking to HIS woman, gloating over the advice of a martial arts master that those who do not submit to him, he should “take them in the ring and bust their nose”...).

His "marketing strategy" mocks women in their 40s, subtly, but nevertheless. The undercurrent seems to be, women in their 40s, boring and irrelevant, but men in their 20s-- now that's hot and we will go down to their level, be like them (sadly, in all their developmental immaturity). Women in their 40s would be a better goal to attain, not excluding everything and anything a 20 year old male might relate to, but God's truth is truth, period, and His wisdom is found in many a heart of 40 year old women, and far less a heart of 20 year old aggressive young men! I apologize for the stereotype, but I seem to be fighting them all over the place re Driscoll.

And the grand finale, yes, Mark has bragged about learning how to preach from and following the style of Chris Rock. Nice! This man is incredibly vulgar and not all that close to Jesus from what I can tell. Nice role model, but yes indeed, Rock might be just the thing if you want to attract and encourage "aggressive young men" to stay the way they are: YOUNG and AGGRESSIVE, i.e., IMMATURE AND UN-CHRISTLIKE.

Freedom!

CD-Host said...

Peter --

Glad you liked. The complementarianism is unfortunate. It isn't so harmful when running a "men's church" / male denomination. If you are going to engage in a radical program of defeminizing the church female pastors are probably not your best choice. In terms of male headship in the home, he seems to mean that primarily in terms of:

1) Finance, which goes for his target market
2) Sexually, which goes for his target market

As far as the misogyny, yeah he uses a lot of misogynistic language. Generally it is directed at men though not women. I can think of some comparable sorts of imagery in expressions directed at women like, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" which the moment you think about is very insulting.

I don't know if he could accomplish what he is aiming for without the language. By attacking extensions of the imagery of the church as the "bridge of Christ" he masculinizes the church but would that be possible without at least hinting there is something bad about "bride"?

I own several nice Brooks Brothers sweater vests that I wear quite often. So I'm not in his target demographic and I still find him a very effective speaker. His critics aren't just completely off base. In the end they might answer the question, "no, it is not worth reforming the church to the extent it becomes welcoming to aggressive young men if as a result we end up having church sanction for sexist ways of speaking". But at least then they are having an argument about the real issue, and the real choice.

Gem said...

I don't think you understand adultery very well. A wife who looks perfect and performs perfect can still have a husband who chooses to be adulterous. Blaming it on her looks and/or performance is believing lies about male sexuality and enabling males to evade responsibility. IMO the obsession with entitlement to certain sex acts (hey, if he's "bored" he's gonna go out and find a more exciting place to put it!) undermines the development of genuine deeply emotionally intimate marriages.

NO WONDER the divorce rate among Christians is so high! A wife is a PERSON, not a collection of body parts to be used. The latter view is very disrespectful, demeaning, and in violation of God's will and Word:

1Thes 4: 3-6 God wants you to be holy,
so don’t be immoral in matters of sex.
Respect and honor your wife.
Don’t be a slave of your desires
or live like people who don’t know God.
You must not cheat any of the Lord’s followers in matters of sex. (CEV)

Its a shame that "the church" is peddling lies, while some secular sources are spot on: See "The Centerfold Syndrome"

freedom4captives said...

P.S.
It seems rather ironic to me that in your writing you appear to assume the “church is primarily female,” (what? when we are oppressed and treated like second class citizens, or worse, like illegal aliens? The church is a flaming patriarchy for crying out loud!) and that you would discuss Driscoll’s being “affirming of [male] gender and identity,” as if that's a good thing. Woa, when in the millennia did men EVER need affirmation of THEIR gender and THEIR identity?

Gem said...

QUOTE CD-Host: Driscoll has been most often attacked is for saying uncomfortable truths about male sexuality. His comments on things like middle aged weight gain, lack of oral sex or lack of frequent sex as being causes of adultery are politically incorrect and true. ENDQUOTE

What is "TRUE"???


1 Corinthians 9:27

I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (RSV)

I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (NIV)

I was thinking about this verse, how Paul talks about bringing his own body into subjection.

The word there is not the “hupotasso” word. It’s doulagogeo ( doulos=slave)
The word for pommel/beat/keep under is hupopiazo
the “hupo” means “under”
the piazo means press or weigh down; press hard, of a victorious army; lay stress on; repress, stifle,

Seems to me that Paul is speaking of a very firm constraining of his own body.

Contrast that imagery with the high incidence of porn use among Christian men. And with prevailing attitude in Christian circles that "middle aged weight gain, lack of oral sex or lack of frequent sex" justifies adultery with the blame falling squarely on the wife (not the husband).

What is "TRUE"?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

CD-host,

I have listened to quite a few of Driscoll's podcasts so I say this with some knowledge and could cite if I need to.

For Driscoll, the husband decides how many children to have, how to school them, how to raise them, how to discipline them, what house to buy, where to live, and every other major decision.

The wife does not work, does not socialize with other women, dresses well, keeps fit and looks beatiful.

Now think about a woman with no job, no female friends, and children for whom she can make no decisions, and a husband who expects 24-7 submission and oral sex on demand.

HELL ON EARTH.

CD-Host said...

Hi Freedom --

Welcome to the blog! I think you are being fair in your critique. It is interesting that essentially at the same instant I was typing His critics aren't just completely off base. In the end they might answer the question, "no, it is not worth reforming the church to the extent it becomes welcoming to aggressive young men if as a result we end up having church sanction for sexist ways of speaking". you essentially wrote a post that said exactly that.

I'd even go further than you would, His "marketing strategy" mocks women in their 40s, subtly, but nevertheless. I don't think there is anything subtle about it. He mocks them directly. If you want to get psycho analytic about it he's likely playing on resentments that his target 20 something year old men have towards their mother. These sorts of resentments towards parents are often what fuel the aggression he's looking for. In a typical church environment these sorts of resentments would be delegitimized, "you are bad for finding your parent's desire to protect you stifling and insulting". Driscoll is preaching the exact opposite "you were stifled and insulted, and now you need to prove them wrong".

As for you not finding Driscoll's service worshipful I can understand that. You aren't the person he's preaching too. I'm not sure I would agree though that there is not biblical sanction for masculine styles of worship. Let's turn to 1Kings 8:62-3 and ldo some math. The average cow has 4.4 gallons of blood. I don't know about a sheep but 1 gallon is probably a good estimate. So we are talking a blood sacrifice involving 215,000 gallons of blood; or roughly 3 1/2 olympic swimming pools of blood. Imagine for a moment the temple scene tens of thousands of people drenched in blood, hearing the screams of animals watching carcass after carcass thrown to side for hour after after hour and with every breath smelling the dead flesh in the desert sun. That's something to make a fan of SAW / Hostel movies nauseous. And God's response to this quite literal blood bath is to declare that in response to the sacrifice this site is to be honored forever (1Kings 9:3). God seems to be flexible on styles of worship even those quite a bit less peaceful than Driscoll's.

The bible presents multiple images of sacrifice. Jesus's "forgive them Lord for they know not what they do" and Samson's "I pray thee strengthen me that I may be avenged and die with the Philistines". Driscoll's emphasizes the Jesus of John who in Revelations burns cities and wrecks empires not so much gentle healer of Luke. Aggressive young men are looking for someone to identify with and understand their anger. High levels of testosterone cause rage, the same way women have emotions during and after pregnancy. Your typical moderate church is equipped to deal with the sorts of emotions women experience from hormones but not the sorts that men experience.

As for the effects of complementarianism on women's possibilities and lives I don't disagree. It is a noxious theology. I certainly like Driscoll in spite of it. I see it as complementarianism as less noxious in a men's church the same way I would see catty kinds of comments about men as less harmful in a women's church / ministry.

Since you blog on him all the time if I could suggest two movies:
Fight Club
Falling Down

which are aimed a little older but both address the issues that Driscoll is trying to redirect.

CD-Host said...

Hi Suzanne --

I don't disagree at all. But few college educated men by 25 actually have families and after that they are out of his demographic. One of things that reduces male anger (normal healthy men, I understand there are exceptions) is regular sex and age both of which are likely to be present by the time the couple is actually picking a school.

As for women's involvement in Act29 churches, I don't know. His ministry isn't directed at her. I guess the question is, why would a family choose a church directed at young men? I think the underlying reason would probably justify wanting to deal with complementarianism. So just taking a wild guess to build a hypothetical as why a women would want to be in this sort of church:

Imagine, she likes the effects of Driscoll's preaching on her husband. For example, his demand that men be financially stable, and have a duty to provide and provide well. One of Driscoll's themes is addressing the resentments lots of men have towards their wives for having children. In other words he talks honestly with men about the kinds of feelings they have that the wife, house and kids are what destroyed their lives. The old, "get in your car and keep driving" feelings that men often get because they feel trapped by the responsibilities of married life. I could imagine for a wife whose husband is starting to eye the door Driscoll, because he is willing to talk honestly and effectively about those sorts of feelings, might be a very welcome influence. Behavior changes belief. If he is choosing the kids schools, he has to start focusing on their education and the plusses and minuses which means he starts to genuinely care.... In other words by acting like a responsible husband he starts to relate to his family as a gift not a burden. In other words a message that this is your wife, your kids, your house this isn't what is destroying your life; this is your life.

Again a guess. I understand completely why young men are attracted to Driscoll I don't have a clue about the attraction for women.

As for encourage women towards social isolation (i.e. doesn't socialize with other women) I'd like to see quotes in context about this. Could you point me to a youtube or a transcript or something? Driscoll mocks the home schooling crowd "wear head scarves and churn their own butter", so I don't see him likely to be encouraging this. I could be wrong.

CD-Host said...

Gem --

Hi welcome to the blog thank you for posting your feedback. Let me give an example statistic (this one from Neumann, The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It):

48% all emotion dissatisfaction
32% sexual dissatisfaction with emotional
12% other or not dissatisfied
8% no emotional dissatisfaction all sexual

59% primarily emotional
29% primarily sexual
12% other or not

I think the numbers are pretty clear about the correlation. It is the number 2 cause by a very large margin.

As for 1Cor 9, Paul was a life long bachelor who didn't have a terribly high view of either marriage or sexuality within marriage. While 1Cor 7 certainly contains these sentiments you seem even more clearly in non canonical works like The Acts of Paul.

I generally try not to host discussions about what "the bible really means". I will agree immediately (and said as much in the original post) that there are lots and lots of Christian preachers who believe that adultery has nothing to do with the underlying condition of the marriage, and that it should be looked upon as an individual sin and not a symptom of a marital dysfunction. I happen to think they are dead wrong, but I agree in advance you can find lots of biblical support for that position and its opposite. In my opinion Paul's views on sexuality are much closer to the Catholic position than the Protestant position.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am sure that Driscoll does mock the home schooling head scarf type. He made the decision that his kids would go to public school. And his wife is definitely attractive in all the accepted ways. She looks lovely.

I agree that it is complex but I have been reading the No Longer Quivering blog, where Vicky explains openly that she is the one who got her family into the Quiverfull movement. She was the one who was attracted to it, etc. But now she has left, she is adamant that it is terribly damaging to women.

Sometimes we are attracted to things that are bad for us. Women are attracted to controlling men, controlling religion, etc. But some women are not. Or some women reach the age where they recognize that it is a bad thing, and want to leave. They want to warn other women - don't marry a controlling man, don't attend a controlling church, no matter how attractive they seem to be.

CD,

I am pretty much with you on the sex stuff, but I am not sure what more to say than that.

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

Sometimes we are attracted to things that are bad for us. Women are attracted to controlling men, controlling religion, etc. But some women are not. Or some women reach the age where they recognize that it is a bad thing, and want to leave. They want to warn other women - don't marry a controlling man, don't attend a controlling church, no matter how attractive they seem to be.

True. I agree with all that. You see a lot of that in the Patriarchy movement as well. And if women change their mind they have to let their husbands know they want to redefine the relationship. Which of course becomes remarkably difficult to do if he's bought into the whole "the bible commands this". Which is why I think the alternate fantasy ones where both parties really know they are playing a game (like Gorean lifestyle) are a heck of a lot healthier than complementarianism. That being said Driscoll (as per most comps) aren't against female education so the daughters don't end trapped in quite as bad a way.

But what I don't get is Driscoll is a particularly interesting case in why a woman would be attracted, due to the male focus in terms of style, decor.... In other words why pick Driscoll over any number of other comp preachers if you are a women? For a guy I get it, he offers something the others don't, for a women it isn't so clear.

And we aren't really dealing with the root issue, if Driscoll's approach is wrong what's the right one to fix the problem he's trying to fix?

Gem said...

Not that I put much stock in statistics, but those you quoted do not seem to indicate that weight gain, lack of oral sex, and lack of frequency are the most cited by men for committing adultery. Your own statistics cite emotional considerations first.

Nevertheless, I don't belong here since I can't abstain from trying to discern (and discuss) the meaning and application of biblical passages to these issues and you don't wish to host such discussion.

Regards...

Suzanne McCarthy said...

CD-host,

A supporter of Driscoll has emailed me and asked me to retract this line,

The wife does not work, "does not socialize with other women," dresses well, keeps fit and looks beatiful.

I have to admit that at this moment, the part that is in quotations marks is something that I don't have evidence for. I apologize for writing this.

I do have evidence however, that Driscoll said,

"Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed. . . Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store ..."

http://www.dennyburk.com/?p=785

I think this shows that Driscoll views the influence of women with disregard. I hope this helps to clarify what I have said about Driscoll.

believer333 said...

The church does not need defeminizing or masculinizing. It needs to be conformed to the maturity that Christ has shown us.

CD-Host said...

Sue --

No need to apologize; you are right about so much stuff so much of the time. I just assume a mistake is inadvertent. Also tell the that email writer to feel free to jump in. Right now we are having a detailed conversation about Driscoll's church with zero Acts29 members, I'd love to have one join in the discussion.

As far as the Denny Burk, here is the longer version from CBWM: Younger Evangelicals and Women in Ministry: A Sketch of the Spectrum of Opinion

And my answer is yep, Driscoll is a complementarian. He's thinks he is preaching complementarianism, and I would argue he is preaching patriarchy, because if women are more easily deceived that would apply to the work place as well.

I guess this discussion is in some sense 1/2 empty vs. 1/2 full.
We have a comp who understands postmodernism and is building a dynamic ministry applying missional techniques to an undeserved population.

I'm looking at him as one of the best of the comps.
You are looking at him as one of the worst of the emergents. I think he's better than MacArthur but far worse than Rob Bell or Karen Ward.

I did a similar piece on Karen Ward defending her use of a ultra traditional mass as part of an outreach to goth kids: Goth music (read to the bottom)

We don't disagree that complementarianism is a big minus. But lets take that aspect away, relative to MacArthur or Grudem what do you think of him?

CD-Host said...

Oops

That line should have read (change in bold):
We have a comp who understands postmodernism and is building a dynamic ministry applying missional techniques to an under-served population.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Well, ya asked for one now here I am. For some of your readers, it may be to their chagrin. ':)

I'm a member of The Journey-St. Louis, an Acts29 church, although it would be wrong to characterize all churches in the network the same as Mars Hill or have pastors like Mark Driscoll. I wouldn't even say that one church is like any other church in the network at all.

To cut to the chase, I LIKE Driscoll's preaching, especially when it comes to gender issues. I don't agree with everything he says, but I do understand why he says what he says and what his purposes are. I don't think he's sexist at all; I've listened to many of his sermons and see that he takes great effort to uphold the dignity and honor of women.

CD-host said:
I understand completely why young men are attracted to Driscoll I don't have a clue about the attraction for women.

Because I want my man to be more of the kind of man Driscoll charges men to be--mature, decisive, and responsible. That's it, and that's all MD's message is for young men. For Suzanne to throw in homeschooling, how many kids, women's dress, etc. is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. You might have reason to accuse if his name were Jeffs and he lived on a compound in Utah or Texas.

CD-host, you also asked why a woman would pick Driscoll over other comp preachers as it relates to the masculine style. Again, my answer would be similar as above, but I sense a false dichotomy. It isn't "men like and women don't." Consider that Jesus chose 12 men on which to focus his efforts. Does anyone think the Lord never got into their face or questioned their masculinity, behavior, and purpose? Did He treat them like grannies? I should hope not. And still, the women came to to be His disciples.

As for isssues of decor, I don't argue the subjective nature of aesthetics, but if you like your church to look and feel like a retirement center rec room, don't be offended that the same people that occupy that place also occupy your church.

CD-Host said...

Hi Letita welcome to Church Discipline!

For Lurkers Letita is a writer for the old complegalitarian (new one here) so she is used to these gender debates. She also has a personal blog.

Anyway let me repeat your answers back to you to make sure I get what you are saying:

a) You like his style of preaching
b) You aren't offended by his comments when addressing gender issues
c) You like the demographics he's creating and agree with him that the tradition decour and style is designed to appeal to an older and more female crowd.
d) You don't believe the complementarian message to men extends beyond: mature, decisive, and responsible.

So now questions
1) Is my summary correct? Am I missing anything or not accurately capturing something?

2) How do you respond to the use of "chickified", as an example term. One of the main claims made against Driscoll is that these terms are inherently demeaning, how would you respond?

3) When his sermons focus on things directed at men "stop whining, grow up, get a job, get a wife and be an ambassador for the kingdom" what is your reaction?

4) The issue of mandatory oral sex has come up (and this is trouchy so please feel very free not to answer). What do you believe the Acts 29 doctrine is regarding woman and providing/receiving oral sex?

Thanks again for providing a voice of knowledge to this debate. Its great to have an Acts 29 person here to discuss these things. And of course I'd equally invite you to comment on the right wing thread if you want to address those criticisms as well.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Letitia,

For Suzanne to throw in homeschooling, how many kids, women's dress, etc. is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS.

I would really appreciate it if you would cite where I mention "homeschooling."

I am well aware of what Driscoll thinks is good schooling, and I have listened to quite a few of his podcasts.

He said that the husband should have final say regarding having children, the children's education, and many other things.

I think that it seems quite common for men to believe they have the right to decide for the wife how often she should get pregnant. It seems that this is not unusual for complementarians, so I don't think I am being all that ridiculous.

If you like I could find that podcast, but you probably recognize that what I have said is true.

The one thing that I did say that I cannot find the reference for, I have already apologized for. I read it on a blog somewhere, and it sounded like a quote. However, I can't verify that.

Is there some other thing that you can prove that I said, and you can give evidence is wrong.

I have already spent some time emailing a supporter of Driscoll's this last weekend, and he could not find anything else that I said that sounded untrue.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

CD-Host,

Nah, I don't chase criticism. They always find me before I find them. :)

To answer your summary, check on a and b.

c) I don't know any church that makes it the mission and purpose to cater to "old" and "female." I believe it's a symptom and not the disease, the disease being the failure to be serious about the Gospel rather than be serious about staying safe (not holy!) from the big bad world.

d) the question is "whose complementarian message?" Mark Driscoll's? The Vision Forum? Or mine? Let's backup: "mature," "decisive," and "responsible" is not a complementarian message. It's the message that men who act like boys in so many ways need to hear. Perhaps MD needs to get a little loud to press the point. IMHO, a good woman listening to this should ask herself why she isn't more mature, decisive and responsible herself; the message is good for all.

2) "Chickified" is a comical and inaccurate term (w/ regard to c) above), and I don't take it seriously. I think it's MD's way of describing boring and irrelevant.

3) MY reaction: It's about time men got taken behind the woodshed for their slovenly lifestyles. Seriously, consider the statement for what it is at face value. Unless God calls you to unmarried, celibate life, why would anyone object to that?

4) I have never seen or heard the word "mandatory" come from MD on oral sex; I'm also confident that there is no doctrine on any kind of sex that is in any way associated with Acts29 (with the exception of homosexual sex). I hope you step back and see the humor in your question. :)

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Suzanne,

Sorry, I mistook something in the thread for "homeschooling." You did not mention it.

You wrote:
For Driscoll, the husband decides how many children to have, how to school them, how to raise them, how to discipline them, what house to buy, where to live, and every other major decision.

The wife does not work, does not socialize with other women, dresses well, keeps fit and looks beatiful.


and

He said that the husband should have final say regarding having children, the children's education, and many other things.

That MD thinks a husband has "the final say" (your second quote) on matters of the home is not the same thing as stifling the wife (your first quote). He is not advocating an either/or scenario. From the standpoint of the neglectful husband (as often the case), then he is rightly chastised to be involved and come to a decision and not leave the wife to care for the household on her own. What is left unspoken is that husband and wife make these decisions together NOT husband determines everything and the wife goes along with whatever he says. What many perhaps miss is that under one comp view is that the final say is on him, not necessarily from him.

I think that it seems quite common for men to believe they have the right to decide for the wife how often she should get pregnant. It seems that this is not unusual for complementarians, so I don't think I am being all that ridiculous.

You and I must run in polar opposite circles, because I have never met any man like this, pastor or otherwise, complementarian or otherwise. From my own understanding of MD's words, I don't think he falls into this category of comp you describe, and it is ridiculous to attribute those beliefs to him.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Letitia,

In this podcast,

http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/trial/marriage-and-women

Driscoll says that the husband has the right to final say concerning when to have children and how many to have, where to live, where to go to church, etc.

Yes, he does set it in the context of the wife having "input." But we all know that many women suffer lifelong adverse phsyical effects due to the decisions their husbands made.

The doctrine of "final say" is, in my view, an abrogation of basic human rights.

I realize that you might not agree with this, but I have the right to express this opinion. At least, I do now, although I used to not have the right to express any opinion at all.

So we should be able to agree to disagree, and I have already apologized for not finding evidence for my other comment.

Please do not continue to invent things against me.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Letitia,

Have you listened to this podcast?

http://rss.marshillchurch.org/mhcsermonaudio

I am actually astounded that Driscoll knows so many satanic women, drama queens gossip mamas, controlling sick demanding and crying women - satanic, satanic.

Wow, I would say that I couldn't believe it, but I had listened to this podcast before.

Here are a few minutes from someone else's summary,

************

50:11:

Satan loves gossip and busybodying: “Ladies, this one is for you.” for the next fifteen minutes, Driscoll slams on “women who gossip, or busybody.” He doesn’t even mention men once. Apparently, men never gossip or busybody.
53:05:

Driscoll has to protect his wife from people who want to chat and have coffee, because that’s Satanic.
54:16:

“Female manipulation.” Women use emotion to manipulate you into gossip and busybodying. That’s Satanic. Women, stay busy with your home, your family, and Jesus. Apparently Mars Hill women can’t have friends either.
56:45:

“Sometimes women’s ministry is the cess pool that this kind of activity flourishes in. Some people ask, why don’t we have women’s ministry? We do, but you have to be very careful. It’s like juggling knives.” The message you get is that even when Mark gives in, and gives these needy women a little bit of power, they are emotionally unstable and cause all sorts of problems. Women meet secretly to all rip on their husbands. “It happens all the time.”

57:40:

The wrong women tend to want the power. They’re the ones who are “gossip mamas and drama queens.”

******************

He then switches to women who have been raped. He can be compassionate to women who have been abused and need help.

Its a sad mix - that some women are victims that need help, and other women are satanic.

He flips from one to the other so fast. Disturbing.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Suzanne,
You wrote:
The doctrine of "final say" is, in my view, an abrogation of basic human rights.

It sounds as if your definition of it and mine differ quite a bit. I don't quite take it as far as you do. I'm only willing to address it as far as MD defines it for his audience, which doesn't sound like asking wives to give up their rights.

You wrote:
Please do not continue to invent things against me.

I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Letitia,

I have been extremely careful to only post those things that I have heard Driscoll say with my own ears. As it turns out, I had forgotten the title of his sermon on keeping women from socializing too much. But then I did find it.

I take great care not to say anything about someone that I cannot verify. I do not think that being this careful should be labeled "completely ridiculous."

I regret that I get upset when people say that I have said things that I have not said. I wish I could see it as funny. Perhaps someday I will.

*******

I think Driscoll leaves the definition of final say up to the authority in the family, ie the husband. In my view, this means that a wife does not have the same rights in terms of her basic living conditions, as the husband. It all depends on the husband. In some cases, women lose their basic human rights, they lose the right to vote for whoever they want, they lose the right to work, to have any money at their discretion, telephone, and friends, they lose exactly those rights that their husband deprives them of, whatever those things are.

CD-Host said...

Lelita --

Thanks for taking the time to answer thoroughly.

I love your phrasing of (c) but I'm still not quite following the cause and effect you are proposing. Let me try repeating back again, tieing this a little tighter than you did in the original:

c2) The gospel has broad appeal while a safety culture has narrow appeal. The demographics of Mars Hill are a result of a focus on the gospel rather than safety. The shift in style and decor results in a rejection of the safety culture, it is an outward sign of what is going on at a deeper level.

Is that correct?

Now onto (d). OK so you see a family complementarian messages that differ. Since you think he preaches mature, decisive, responsible to both men and women what is it that you think he is uniquely preaching to men as part of the complementarian message? Is there any specific content?

Of course this just forked off to another interesting point. I'd agree "decisive" is a Driscoll theme and is somewhat unusual. It might be that male vs. female isn't really the core issue but rather pairs like:

gospel vs. safety
engage world vs. build an enclave
decisive vs. conventional

In other words the classic Christianity vs. Churchianity battle.

______

Now if you don't mind me pressing on chickified you siad, " "Chickified" is a comical and inaccurate term (w/ regard to c) above), and I don't take it seriously. I think it's MD's way of describing boring and irrelevant. "

I'm still losing the connection between female and boring and irrelevant. For example I could see "chickified" doesn't mean things like women but rather things that women like (i.e. appeal to women) . But you still end up with a word for female being used as a synonym for negative things. An analogy would be Malcom's X's point about the word "black" being used for a people and being used for the opposite to good and true like, "only somone with a black heart could do that".

It also sounds like your reasons for Acts29 are basically

1) You like the effect of Driscoll on men
2) You like the defocus on safety
3) You find him exciting and motivational

Is that in your opinion the appeal of Driscoll to women?

Bill K said...

I'll preface my comment by saying I'm not a Mark Driscoll expert at all.

When I listen to his teachings with comments about chickified, etc., the issue that I hear coming through is that culture, specifically traditional church culture, has sought to make men more womenlike. I think he would use the phrase dudified in just as objectionable way about women. Go to a high school and call the football lineman a ballerina - and you have an angry football player. Call a ballet dancer a ballerina and it would be a complement. Call the ballet dancer a football player and she will be upset too!

My assessment is that Mark Driscoll sees both issues of sex and gender specified in scripture, and he preaches from this position that men and women should match up to this; and further that the church should match up to this.

I find myself agreeing/disagreeing with Suzanne. I know that women get abused and have their rights removed by husbands in some cases. I know that guys can be legitamized in this effort by the Bible, teachings like what we are discussing from Mark Driscoll, etc. And I think this is terrible. It is anti-Christian. It is treating people subhumanly.

However, my opinion is that many of these men would have done the same thing to their wives if they didn't have the support from either source. I don't agree that the final-say that Letitia describes necessitates harm to a woman.

My understanding of the idea is this (which may not agree with Marc Driscoll)- a marriage is not supposed to be a power struggle, instead mutual submission. At times there are disagreements that cannot be resolved in discourse. In these instances, the husband is supposed to make the final call. How is he supposed to make the call? By sacrificing for his wife the way Christ did the church, i.e. most of these times he should be deferring his own desire for his wife's. If the husband feels very strongly it must be the other way he can make that call, and the wife is supposed to support and follow the decision. In this case, the submission of the wife is to trust and follow the husband, and not to sabotage or nag after the decision. For the husband, the choice is on him - so if it turns out badly, he has no one else to blame but must take responsibility for the mistake himself (both with his wife, others, and ultimately with God).

Suzanne McCarthy said...

the husband is supposed to make the final call.

Final call = my way or the highway.

This is just a fact of life. It is a brutal way to live, and can lead to a life of subhuman conditions for a woman.

Knowing what I now know, I think final call is a sin.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

CD-Host wrote:
c2) The gospel has broad appeal while a safety culture has narrow appeal. The demographics of Mars Hill are a result of a focus on the gospel rather than safety. The shift in style and decor results in a rejection of the safety culture, it is an outward sign of what is going on at a deeper level. Is that correct?

That sounds like a fair way to put it.

Since you think he preaches mature, decisive, responsible to both men and women what is it that you think he is uniquely preaching to men as part of the complementarian message? Is there any specific content?

Well, on issues that have to do with relationships and family, the men in American society have really dropped the ball far more than women--that is where MD focuses his sermons. Any pastor can make that argument regardless of the comp/egal position. Since MD is complementarian, he stresses that this lack of responsibility on the part of men has the added dimension of thwarting God-assigned duties.

But I don't think he goes so far as to say men decide how many children their wives have. Sure, they do with their wives but not for their wives. (In contrast to "I don't care" or "don't have any because babies cramp my style")

Between you and Bill K, you seem to sum up Driscoll's position reasonably accurate. I'm a hearer just like you.
---
I guess there's some hang-up on the word "chickified." I wouldn't place on it any more significance than the term "girly-man." Does this really need explaining...????

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

I should clarify this:

"Since MD is complementarian, he stresses that this lack of responsibility on the part of men has the added foundational sin dimension of thwarting God-assigned duties."

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Suzanne,

"Final say" means something different to me and to many other complementarians out there. I wouldn't give so much credit to the patriarchy-types out there to determine my outlook on relationships and what terms mean. That's giving them too much power, don't you think?

Bill K said...

I seriously disagree that this final call idea = my way or the highway. For the couples involved in complementarianism, what “highway” have you encountered from primary or secondary sources? I disagree that a call from God for unity in marriage is a sin.

A few more details:

1. The specifics of when this final say MIGHT come into play: spiritually significant, NON-moral decision that cannot be brought to any other resolution, i.e. where to work, where to live, what church to belong to, what school to send your children to, etc. Any lesser-importance decision a godly husband should by default be willing to sacrifice his own desires for his wife’s.

2. My wife and I have a big disagreement about where to live. After much talking, pleading, arguing, praying and counsel we still are at odds. What are the options for how to proceed?

A) Powerplay
B) Outlast
C) Quit (separation/divorce)
D) Sacrifice by the husband for the wife
E) Sacrifice by the wife for the husband

The first 3 are the “normal” final call in the marriages of our culture. The complementarian message is one of unity promoted by sacrifice – primarily D, sacrifice by the husband. But it is a firm call to sacrifice so if not D, E – sacrifice by the wife.

That’s it – instead of trying to win against your spouse, you are supposed to sacrifice for them. Except the complementarian message is that SOMEONE needs to sacrifice. If not, then your marriage is probably stuck in A or B until the grace of God moves someone’s heart.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Suzanne,

"Final say" means something different to me and to many other complementarians out there. I wouldn't give so much credit to the patriarchy-types out there to determine my outlook on relationships and what terms mean. That's giving them too much power, don't you think?


Letitia,

Respectfully, patriarchy-types are not "out there" to me. Patriarchy types were very much a part of my life, to my immense sorrow. I attended a complementarian church with a complementarian pastor and a renowned complementarian theologian up until very recently - about two years ago.

I am not blogging about something "out there." I am wondering how on earth I ever lived with such truly destructive beliefs all my life. I am just saying that complementariansim has at least the same potential for destroying someone's life as any other belief. I see no advantage to it, and lots of disadvantages. Egalitarians can still be respectful of each other.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Bill,

All gender studies show that there is a difference between the sexes. ONe of the most marked and irrefutable differences is that men are more risk-takers than women. When it comes to governing global economic funds, running a business, making decisions in the home - studies show that women have a distinct advantage and are more likely to make decisions that are to everyone's benefit.

When men use final call to move, of make a major life decision, I have seen some couples go into bankruptcy, and some become more successful. It is all playing the odds. But when the husband dies, has a heart attack, becomes unemployed, or they divorce, the wife has responsibility and accountability for the family. The wife ought to have at least equal say.

Bill K said...

Suzanne - without doing my own footwork, I'll agree on your statement of fact about decision making of men and women. But even if statistically one is a better decision make in the home than the other, this doesn't say much at all about the particulars. Moreover, God is a risk-taker and a stabilizer. He values both things.

Directing back to my last comment; there are limited options when you are at impass. How do you end the stalemate? The complementarian says that unity is more important than either party getting their way. So the call is first for the husband to sacrifice his position, but if not him, his wife.

Is this description of decision making pugnacious to you, or is your personal experience with complementarianism the problem?

To me, this formulation favors women and women's choices.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Suzanne,

If you have not shed the bitterness of past abuses, then the guilty parties still have power over you and you are not yet free.

Other than that, I will not argue definitions and associations with you here. However, if you ask MD himself, I'm sure he would not identify himself as the patriarchy kind of pastor.
---
CD-Host:
1) You like the effect of Driscoll on men
2) You like the defocus on safety
3) You find him exciting and motivational
Is that in your opinion the appeal of Driscoll to women?


MD is certainly all those things. I can only speak for myself that I find truth to be the biggest draw for why I like his messages. If you want a concrete example, Suzanne's excerpts of "offensive" MD statements are perfect. I agree with those statements, in part because I have been that woman he talks about and I see it all around me in women everywhere--even the redeemed of us are guilty sometimes--on TV, at the store, at the park, in women's groups, out with friends, etc.

It is true that 'men are stupid and women are evil' in our unrepentant and sinful state. The slogan can be reversed too to a lesser degree. I appreciate when a pastor preaches against these sinful states, because I see them as the bedrock sins on which many, many other sins rest in our culture.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Letitia,

I read words in citation marks words that I have NEVER written and I see my personality denigrated without any reference to accuracy.

This indicates to me that you have no argument of substance or any disagreement with the facts.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Hi Bill,

This is too abstract for me. Particulars are things like seatbelts, and life jackets, and faulty wiring, and safety gates and things like that. Particulars are also things like pension funds and insureance, and so on.

For the safety of the children, there must be a guarantee that the wife cannot be over-ruled just because of her gender. This is a terrible way to make decisions.

I am not about fulfillment and women need to be validateds= etc. etc. I am about basic human safety, the integrity of keeping the body intact, especially of the children.

Men excel at the Darwin awards. They should not be given the "over-rule/trump" card. (I do think men have other strengths that I admire, .... but, if we agree that there are differences, then this difference must be brought into the discussion. I hope this does not sound disrespectful.)

And no, I don't think you are pugnacious. I am comfortable with honest disagreement.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

I read words in citation marks words that I have NEVER written and I see my personality denigrated without any reference to accuracy.

Suzanne,
I let a previous similar accusation pass. Again, I don't know what you are talking about and this will be the last time you accuse me of something that doesn't exist. Unless you can control your reactionary attitude I will not have further dialogue with you anywhere on the blogosphere.

Apologies to everyone for spoiling the combox with personal biz I felt I needed to take care of right now; it will be the last time.

Suzanne McCarthy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne McCarthy said...

Letitia,

I may have misunderstood you. Since you misquoted me in your first comment here, I assumed that this had happened again, but possibly not.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to recover from the way you spoke about me in your first comment. I feel as if that set the tone for our conversation.

I am sorry that I reacted to your words about me in this way.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Suzanne,

I have not made any disparaging remarks about you or your personality. The comments thread bear this out.

CD-Host said...

I think for both Letitia and Suzanne there was a miscommunication that was accidental. Lets move past the who said what to whom and move onto actual issues.

Letitia a question arose on the discussion on New Leaven. Are there any mothers who are members in good standing that have jobs outside the home in your church?

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

CD-Host,

Are there any mothers who are members in good standing that have jobs outside the home in your church?

Sure.

I suspect, though, there is more to this question than meets the eye. Are you looking for a doctrine on women in the workplace that comes from MHC or Acts29? Similar to the sex question, there is no such doctrine. Wouldn't it be legalistic to form a doctrine on either issue? If so, that would be uncharacteristic of the typical emerging church reputation.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I simply want to comment that in his podcast on 1 Tim. 5:1-16 between minute 36 and 38, Mark Driscoll says,

“If you men don’t take care of your family you are worse than a pagan. … We don’t have any member in the church who is married and is a mother who works outside of the home.”

That's what he said.

Recent research indicates that while in traditional societies in developing countries, women have more children.

HOWEVER, in industrialized societies, the more opportunity women have to stay in the workplace while they work the higher the birthrate.

In Poland, Italy, Spain, the birthrate is 1.3 and in France, Sweden and Iceland - more economically egalitarian and providng more daycare, the birthrate is 1.9.

It is now thought that overall, the US provides daycare through a variety of systems, and offers a flexible workplace which keep the birthrate high.

Enforcing a "family values" and "women at home" agenda has caused the birthrate to plummet in European countries. Is Driscoll aware of this?

CD-Host said...

Letititia --

Are you looking for a doctrine on women in the workplace that comes from MHC or Acts29? Similar to the sex question, there is no such doctrine. Wouldn't it be legalistic to form a doctrine on either issue?

So just to repeat this back. There is no prohibition or restriction on married women with children working. Married women with children who are employed enjoy full church membership, are not subject to any kind of discipline or restrictions. How they interpret complementarianism is a matter of personal conscience.

And these people exist in relatively large numbers (say over 2%). Is that correct?

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

Interesting point regarding day care and birth rates. I wanted to comment but I'll need a day or two to think on that one.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

CD-host,

I would not expect that there would be any stated restriction on mothers working outside the home. It would be normal to suppose that mothers voluntarily stay at home, because they are under the teaching that this is what the word of God says.

No doubt, this is influence only and not a restriction of any kind.

However, I was surprised that Driscoll could say with so much confidence that in his church there was NO member of his church who was married and a mother who also worked outside the home. That sounds surprising, but clearly that is what he said.

Lindon said...

I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the authoritative coup Driscoll preformed at his church. Changing bylaws from 22 elders to 5 and he now has complete control with his hand picked yes men. Never mind his 'questioning is sinning' sermon he preached about the elders that came to him with concerns. Oh, and the threat to 'go old testament' on them. How dare them question Mark's crudeness. He is Mark Driscoll.

This follows his authoritarian pattern for everything else. In effect, he gets rebuked by the big boys, then gets even more crude.

He belittles women in a way that makes me grieve for the women who follow him (and not Christ). He calls them gossips, drama queens, etc. He calls women's ministries gossip coffee klatches.

He even said in one series that he filters his wife's e-mails because he does not want the gossips to get to her.

I could go on and on but he exhibits classic abusive behavior. Even when he is yelling at men not to abuse their wives. He is a little boy who got a stage. He is an preformer and a shock jock.

I believe people are being led AWAY from Christ by him. They are more focused on their roles and rules and following a mere immature human. Because it is about Mark, not Christ. And he loves that... those with discernment can tell.

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

However, I was surprised that Driscoll could say with so much confidence that in his church there was NO member of his church who was married and a mother who also worked outside the home. That sounds surprising, but clearly that is what he said.

For lurkers, Suzanne and I were discussing this comment on New Leaven. If you go to Suzanne's link the context is supportive of the comment; the problem is that it blatantly and obviously false. For example he had a married women with a child tasking him for about 2 years, being in charge of running the day to day operations of the church. He has married women with children in paid deacon positions.

OK I came up with two hypothesis:

1) He meant to say elder's wives or minister's wives or something like that. That still works in context. And we know there was at least one minister's wife who felt obligated not to work after her first child and slipped into a depression because of it .

2) There was a reversal on the TelePrompTer. I've heard about this from TV News. The person who does the last minute editing reads something wrong and reverses the meaning of the sentence. So the original should have been along the lines of:
"some of the members wives work, we aren't a bunch of punk rock amish..."
But one of those was reversed and the editor pulled the entire sentence in the wrong direction.

I know that sounds stupid but this happens every 2 years or so on any given TV news show. I know of several members of the ABC news team who ended up saying dumb stuff over the air because of this... and I know that a clip of Dan Rather catching one of those and re-reversing in his head but jumping forward and then back so as not to miss a beat is generally used for training. Mark being a pastor not a newscaster wouldn't have gotten that kind of training.

But who knows? I'm going to be charitable and assume this is a one time screw up for some reason and leave it be.
_______________

As to it being a rule. In a place like Baley's church a mother who works would be disciplined. CREC as a denomination will not take a married women as a member (or even a regular attender) without her husband. For National Family Integrated Churches (Phillips) even unmarried women can't be members. As they see it women have memberships in family's and families, represented by their male leader have covenants with the church. So an unmarried woman can't individually join, though an unmarried man could.

So yeah I could see it being a rule. And I think it is important whether it is just Driscoll's opinion, something people would get disciplined for or a real rule. For example Joshua Harris would definitely excommunicate a working mother even though there is no official rule.

I'd also agree that in most evangelical congregations it is hard to be a working mother because of community pressure especially complementarian ones. Given the nature of Driscoll's congregation, i.e. socially accepting, fairly new to the faith, 1st generation Christian.... I'd assume social pressures are much much lower than they would be in most congregations. It is why complementarianism is sort of an odd fit for him.

CD-Host said...

Hi Lindon, welcome to the blog! It hasn't gotten mentioned at least by me because I don't know about it. I know there were 2 elders that got fired where there was a great deal of controversy. AFAIK though the board of elders is formally independent. But everyone knows that Mars Hill is the Mark Driscoll, he is an irreplaceable pastor at this point. Even if the board were fully independent a "they go or I go" type ultimatum is going to result in other people getting canned.

On the other hand Acts29 looks to be genuinely independent and lasting. Right now it is filled with hero worshippers, but in a decade or two it might be genuinely independent.

The congregational model leads to star pastors who have tremendous unofficial influence. The Episcopal model gets you starts who have official and unofficial influence. I guess it depends which you like better.

Lindon said...

I guess it depends which you like better.

I prefer the NT church model where everyone is a brother and sister in Christ. There are no offices but only spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit that each member of Body is given and exercises to edifiy the entire Body. And the 'authority' of the Body is Jesus Christ.

In that model, there is no need for celebrities. It is all about Jesus Christ. :o)

Lindon said...

"As to it being a rule. "

In most mega's or celebrity led churches, the rules are unwritten but known to those who have been there a while. Those who break the unwritten rules are out. Like the elders who dared approach him about his crudity. they might have thought their position gave them that responsibility. AFter all, that is what Driscoll teaches.

You figure these unwritten rules out after being around for a while. Those pew sitters who dissent from the unwritten rules are usually not part of the in group. It is subtle shunning until you get your act together and 'look right'.

YOu can usually pick up on the unwritten rules by watching and listening closely. And most new folks want to fit in so they take the teaching on specific women's roles as biblical. In other words, the pastor will not usually say that if a mom works, she is in sin. But that 'thought' is communicated in many other ways by modeling and what is taught.

Driscoll communicates his view about women every time he opens his mouth and calls us deceived, drama queens, gossips, sex, etc.

Never underestimate the power of unwritten rules.

CD-Host said...

Lindon --

I like Quaker (society of friends) meeting, which is closest long running church I've seen with that structure. Wonderful wonderful system that is unfortunately dieing out quickly though the last decade has been great to them. So I'm with you on how wonderful the experience is, but numbers wise it is a very small percentage of the landscape.

As for inner circle. Again I'll keep going back to Wendy Alsup, she's as inner circle as you can get. Let's say this again, Driscoll has married with children female employees. It is one thing to attack people for things they do and/or believe; but entirely different to attack them for things they neither believe in nor do.

If you want to go after a pastor who preaches and enforces these sorts of codes of conduct, Doug Phillips or Tim Bayly are great targets. At this point you are arguing that Mars Hill has secret doctrines which are secretly being enforced which contradict their openly stated doctrines.

Churches are not setup like intelligence organizations, they can't pull this sort of thing off. And what would be the point?

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

This conversation sure has strayed from the original blogpost. Within it, MD has been discussed as a sex fiend to sexist to cult leader. Is all this specualtion (gossip?) about him warranted, given that he maintains Christian orthodoxy on every point?

CD-Host:
So just to repeat this back. There is no prohibition or restriction on married women with children working. Married women with children who are employed enjoy full church membership, are not subject to any kind of discipline or restrictions. How they interpret complementarianism is a matter of personal conscience.

And these people exist in relatively large numbers (say over 2%). Is that correct?


I have no idea what percentage of women in MY church are mothers who work outside of the home. To even suggest that such mothers would come under discipline is a rather extreme suggestion and uncharacteristic of any evangelical church in the Western world today, including MH or my church. For me, this question is way out in left field. For those churches/church groups that you mentioned, I have not even heard of them until recently; I've been in mainstream evangelical churches all my life and have never seen such extremism, which leads me to believe that these groups you mention are on the fringe and can't be given this much credibility.

I resist the shifting of the issue into the realm of "unwritten rules," because I don't think it's fair to imply that women stay at home with their kids because of peer pressure or pastoral pressure against their will. Mothers who stay home do it because it is the best way to care for children, which no one can dispute. If a pastor encourages this from the pulpit, I, for one, appreciate the value that man puts on my unpaid, 112-hour, vacation-free, insanity-breeding job. I can't help but feel a little slighted at the implication that being a SAHM is something lesser than working outside the home.

In MD's case (for all subject matters, it seems), negativity is in the eye of the beholder.

Lindon said...

"I like Quaker (society of friends) meeting, which is closest long running church I've seen with that structure. Wonderful wonderful system that is unfortunately dieing out quickly though the last decade has been great to them. So I'm with you on how wonderful the experience is, but numbers wise it is a very small percentage of the landscape."

A quiet revolution is taking place. And you cannot look at numbers because it would be impossible to track but many are leaving the institutional church and looking for authenticity of the NT church and teaching. Ironically, it is mainly composed of serious comitted followers of Christ who are disgusted with the 'enterprise' called Church with an organizational chart and a caste system of clergy/laity which is not scriptural.

I doubt this will attract the masses who like to belong to movements or social organizations. People are attracted to bold leaders and always will be.

"s for inner circle. Again I'll keep going back to Wendy Alsup, she's as inner circle as you can get. Let's say this again, Driscoll has married with children female employees. It is one thing to attack people for things they do and/or believe; but entirely different to attack them for things they neither believe in nor do."

I am afraid I do not understand this?

Driscoll proves what he believes about women everytime he opens his mouth. Sue has given some examples. So have I and others here. And that is the tip of the iceberg.

I suppose many can look past that. Being female, I cannot.

I agree that he is cool and hip. But I am not sure what that has to do with following Christ?

It is the Gospel that attracts or repels...not the shock jock sermon, necklace or jock demeanor. It is the power of the Holy Spirit, not the messenger. I am afraid we have become so man centered, we fail to give the credit where it belongs.

"f you want to go after a pastor who preaches and enforces these sorts of codes of conduct, Doug Phillips or Tim Bayly are great targets. At this point you are arguing that Mars Hill has secret doctrines which are secretly being enforced which contradict their openly stated doctrines."

No, I was pointing out that many times there are unwritten rules in these mega cults that are not posted in the foyer or 'what we believe' statements.

"hurches are not setup like intelligence organizations, they can't pull this sort of thing off. And what would be the point?"

Now, there I will differ with you based on pure experience coming from the mega marketing world. You have NO chance to even lead a bible study if you do not fit the model they expouse. Even if it is unwritten. They are very careful. Mega's grow based on unity of relationships. Therefore they are very careful who starts becoming popular from within the masses. They are vetted in a very indirect way so as to maintain a certain image of the church.

At Saddleback,you signed a membership 'covenant'. Basically, you were agreeing not to disagree with the leadership. This act of signing the covenant is very influential in many ways.

I can recite some examples that are quite silly but I have seen quite a bit. One women, who wanted to sub for another women in a women's small group bible study was told she had to take her husband's last name first. This was in a mega church of 26,000. There was an unwritten rule she had no idea about until it came time for her to want to do something in the church.

There are tons of such examples.

That is basically what I mean by unwritten rules. I am not real concerned about Driscoll saying that no moms in his church work. There is plenty more wrong with Driscoll to get caught up in that.

I consider Mars Hill to be a sort of cult like most mega's.

Thanks for allowing me to post another viewpoint about Driscoll.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

CD-host,

Here is another clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WPVxndUcHQ

1) Mark and Grace are completely misinterpreting 1 Tim. 5:8. That is NOT what was written in Greek. They exploit the fact that Grudem et al have softened people up to accept a false doctrine.

2) Driscoll implies here that the mother must stay home.

3) He says that it is wrong to be a stay-at-home dad.

He simply misquotes scripture, and preaches on his own thoughts. Why doesn't he just invent scripture while he is at it?

Sure, lots of what he says sounds good - and lots of what he says does not sound good.

I honestly do not buy your suggestion that Driscoll misread his teleprompter. I believe he said that in 2004, no married mother in his church worked outside the home. I believe he said that and that is what he meant.

If we cannot judge Driscoll on his words, what shall we discuss - his haircut - cute, babydoll look.

At the end of the clip he states, that he really knows scripture, and he knows how bad daycare it, etc. etc.

But he is neither correct about scripture, nor is he necessarily correct about daycare.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Here is what Driscoll wrote on this topic,

http://relit.org/pastordad/ch4.php

- once again chosing 1 Tim. 5:8. It irritates me that nobody has every said to him, hey Mark, let's look at what was written in the Greek. Let's look at what Calvin taught about this verse. It was written to women.

This does not mean that it is a sin for a wife to work when a couple is first married, as they are getting ready to begin their family, or for a wife to make money on the side as a secondary priority while remaining at home with the children, or even for her to work once the children are grown if the motives are pure and her primary duties are not neglected.

Furthermore, the masculine duty to provide does not mean that under extenuating circumstances a wife does not need to work, such as if a husband is hospitalized with an illness or injury and is completely unable to work. As an aside, a wise husband also has savings, disability, and life insurance to provide for his family even in the direst of circumstances.

Nonetheless, there is no way anyone could read the Bible and wind up with the silly notion that both the husband and the wife are to be providers and that daycares or relatives are supposed to raise the children of a Christian couple.

Furthermore, it is completely impossible to read the Bible and wind up with the inane idea that a Christian father can be a stay-at-home dad while mom goes to work. Anyone who thinks these things are acceptable is by definition worldly.

CD-Host said...

Letitia --

CD: ...And these people exist in relatively large numbers (say over 2%). Is that correct?

I have no idea what percentage of women in MY church are mothers who work outside of the home.


Do you know of any mothers who work outside the home? More than one. Of say the 20 women who are mothers you know how many work outside the home?


To even suggest that such mothers would come under discipline is a rather extreme suggestion and uncharacteristic of any evangelical church in the Western world today, including MH or my church.

There you would be wrong. Just to pick a regular on this blog, SGM excommunicated someone for disagreeing regarding demand feeding vs. schedule feeding of infants. I was just responding on another blog where people were arguing that failure to recognize Federal Vision as a heresy was a heresy and such people should be excommunicated.

National Family Integrated Churches I was mentioning is 2000 churches large. Bob Jones University has 4200 students. IFB has something like 40 bible colleges..... Don't get me wrong I was expecting the answers you gave. But the right goes much further than you might imagine.

CD-Host said...

A quiet revolution is taking place. And you cannot look at numbers because it would be impossible to track but many are leaving the institutional church and looking for authenticity of the NT church and teaching.

I assume we are talking home church, Frank Viola... As far as I know it has been tracked. In 2006 there was a study. There were about 50k Christians in the home church movement taking part in 1600 home churches. If you ignore all bounds of orthodoxy and also count churches with only family members (like you see with Mormons) you get up to around 30,000 home churches in the US and probably something like 500k people.

That being said the home church movement probably deserves its on thread on this blog.
CD: as for inner circle. Again I'll keep going back to Wendy Alsup, she's as inner circle as you can get. Let's say this again, Driscoll has married with children female employees. It is one thing to attack people for things they do and/or believe; but entirely different to attack them for things they neither believe in nor do."

Lindon: I am afraid I do not understand this?


You were arguing there weren't working married women with children in the inner circle. I was giving you an example of a married woman with 2 children in Driscoll's inner circle.

Driscoll proves what he believes about women everytime he opens his mouth. Sue has given some examples. So have I and others here. And that is the tip of the iceberg.

I'm not convinced. Generally the debates centering on what Driscoll believes have asserted beliefs that he provable doesn't have. That's fairly strong counter evidence.

I agree that he is cool and hip. But I am not sure what that has to do with following Christ?


1) Driscoll identifies himself as a Christian
2) Mars Hill identifies itself as a Christian church
3) Acts29 (the denomination essentially) identifies itself as a Christian confideration
4) The membership considers itself to be attending a Christian church
5) Prominent Christians consider Driscoll to be theologically orthodox.

I'd say that's pretty strong evidence.

It is the Gospel that attracts or repels...not the shock jock sermon, necklace or jock demeanor. It is the power of the Holy Spirit, not the messenger. I am afraid we have become so man centered, we fail to give the credit where it belongs.

I don't know if I would agree with you. It seems to me that Christianity evolves like most human institutions: right person at the right time. Indulgences was not a major issue, but German princes were sick of being governed by a Italian/Spanish church. Luther got the political support he needed and Christianity transformed.

But who knows where Jesus stands on the debates between Leo X/Sylvester Mazzolini and Luther? I don't claim that sort of insight.

CD-Host said...

Lindon --

(part 2 of response)
CD: f you want to go after a pastor who preaches and enforces these sorts of codes of conduct, Doug Phillips or Tim Bayly are great targets. At this point you are arguing that Mars Hill has secret doctrines which are secretly being enforced which contradict their openly stated doctrines."

No, I was pointing out that many times there are unwritten rules in these mega cults that are not posted in the foyer or 'what we believe' statements.... I consider Mars Hill to be a sort of cult like most mega's.


Do you really believe that Driscoll is running a cult? Why? As an aside I have a 100 question cult test which I've used as a standard definition.

OTOH if you mean that the sort of things you see in most mega churches are present in Driscoll's church with regard to vetting leadership, I'd agree. Churches are often quite strict on minister opinions since they represent the group. Moreover, while I don't know for sure the fact he is actually more open minded than most because he is more missional might make feel he has to be stricter on leaders. There would be less natural pushback you would get in most churches.

Thanks for allowing me to post another viewpoint about Driscoll.

Than you for responding in depth. You are certainly welcome to have other viewpoints here.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am more or less exclusively interested in the Bible translation issues at the moment. I think it is clear that Driscoll has misinterpreted 1 Tim. 5:8 and he has said that mothers don't work outside the home, but this doesn't mean that there hasn't been some natural slippage. It appears that Wendy Alsup at first, worked at home, while her kids napped, then her job expanded as her kids grew.

That's a good thing, but it still remains that Driscoll's use of 1 Tim. 5:8 in support of complementarianism, is highly problematic.

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

Here is another clip. ...

1) Mark and Grace are completely misinterpreting 1 Tim. 5:8. That is NOT what was written in Greek.


What I find interesting is it is not what is in the ESV either. My guess is he is getting the male part from the KJV, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

But yeah drawing doctrine this way is bad. Call it a strike.

2) Driscoll implies here that the mother must stay home.

Listen to that clip again.
refusal to provide -> subject to church discipline
setting up your household biblically -> is a command
mother staying at home -> strong personal preference

I'd agree he's getting very close to the line here. The misquote of Timothy makes this much worse, but we already nailed him for that.

He simply misquotes scripture, and preaches on his own thoughts. Why doesn't he just invent scripture while he is at it?

You mean like the 2nd century guys that wrote the book of Timothy in the first place? :-) Again I'm willing to consider this a mistake on his part. If the mistakes start pilling up then I'm not willing to call it a mistake. But even in that clip you can see how pained he is regarding this topic.

I honestly do not buy your suggestion that Driscoll misread his teleprompter.

I didn't say that. I said the editor misread it prior to it hitting the teleprompter.

What alternative are you advocating:

1) Driscoll honestly doesn't know that lots of working mothers are members of his church. I'd say this is doubtful.

2) Driscoll knows there are working mothers but says it for effect. In other words he's lying. Again I think it is doubtful. Far too many people know that he doesn't have this right wing of a church in particular the people in his church.

3) Driscoll intends to start discipline against working mothers and is laying the groundwork. I don't think you can accuse of being subtle.

etc.... I don't know why he said it. No answer makes sense, the ones I gave seem to meet the least unlikely criteria.

I believe he said that in 2004, no married mother in his church worked outside the home. I believe he said that and that is what he meant.

But it is not true and he knows it is not true and he knows that the audience knows it is not true. So what would be the point?

If we cannot judge Driscoll on his words, what shall we discuss - his haircut - cute, babydoll look.

As far as I understand your counter thesis, you are asserting that Driscoll is much more right wing than I am. I'm willing to look at the evidence but one piece in isolation isn't going to move me off my base position. I think there is a huge spread between Bayly (who I know you know) and Driscoll on issues of gender. I would expect that over the course of a few hundred hours he said some stupid stuff.

At the end of the clip he states, that he really knows scripture, and he knows how bad daycare it, etc. etc.

But he is neither correct about scripture, nor is he necessarily correct about daycare.


I don't disagree. OTOH I'm very liberal on women's roles and still used a nanny. My nanny incidentally was way more sexist than Driscoll, even though she herself had worked when her children were small. While she was a great caregiver ultimately it was one of the reasons we didn't keep her after my daughter turned 3 and the sexist messages might stick.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I believe that Wendy Alsup worked at home on the internet while her kids were young and this gave Driscoll deniability.

I honestly believe that he thought at the time that no married mothers in his congregation were working outside the home.

Sure Bayly and Driscoll are far apart. But really what's the difference, having 0% of the vote or having 49%?

Are you saying Driscoll is cuter than B***ly? I am too old for this kind of stuff. ;-)

I don't have the answer about an ideal way to raise kids, and I don't think there is anything wrong with nannys or SAHM's.

When my daughter was 3 or 4 she saw kids going into a daycare in a church basement and she pestered me until she went to daycare also, so I started to work as a subsitute teacher to pay for it. She loved it, every minute, and wants to be a teacher now. She is still living at home at 20 and we are very close. Go figure.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

But I aqree that it is not only in the ESV that this passage sounds like it is addressed to men. That's not the issue.

Because of the preface to the ESV and the teaching of Grudem regarding the meaning of the masculine singular pronoun, all kinds of young men think that "he" in the English Bible refers to men only.

I believe that this teaching has so distorted Christianity that it is driving a wedge between men and women that will take a long time to repair.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Its just possible that Driscoll doesn't know any better. So who is to blame. As I mentioned, a Driscoll supporter emailed me and told me I should see Grudem as responsible. I do, I do.

Bill K said...

Quicksand!

I don't want to be stuck in the quicksand anymore. But I do want to get back to the original intention of the thread - to talk about what positive contributions Driscoll has to the message of Christianity, and if his ideas about church solve many of the difficulties with doing church in the U.S.

And on this front - I want to comment that I think Driscoll is quite brilliant. I disagree with him on many things; especially on calvinism, and his view of women; but he is absolutely brialliant and full of Godly wisdom on how to view the world around us, especially with respect to idolatry.

Check out this teaching he gave at Xenos last year for our summer institute:

"How the Local Church can Reach Our Postmodern Culture" on http://www.xenos.org/teachings/index/index.php?source=XSI

As I side not, I guarantee you will find at least one or two stupid things he says too; I know that because he says one or two things at least that I feel that way about. Didn't take away from it being eye opening!

My other side note is that I do not know what or what has not been the experience of Suzanne of Lindon with church(es). From the things you have said - I assume it was terrible. And I'm really sorry that it happened to you. Jesus loves women.

Lindon said...

CD, I can't really respond in depth because we have totally different views of what is Christian. So, it would be a waste of time and open up a huge can of worms.

I know how this is going to sound but here I go...I think God is so Holy and even the Name of Jesus Christ is so Holy that I literally cringe for Mark every time he opens his mouth and says crude things describing our Lord and His Word to us not to mention how he speaks of his sisters in Christ. His excuse is that Paul talks like that but we just do not have ENOUGH exampes and they certainly do not rise to Driscoll's level of vulgarity and shock jock appeal.
I always think of Matthew 7 when I hear Mark.

I know that many do not share my view so I will sign off on this topic. I can hear the charges of 'prude' now. :o)

Blessings

Lindon said...

Gee, sorry for all the typos...in a hurry.

"My other side note is that I do not know what or what has not been the experience of Suzanne of Lindon with church(es). From the things you have said - I assume it was terrible. And I'm really sorry that it happened to you. Jesus loves women."

July 11, 2009 9:56 PM

Actually, I was involved in mega marketing so I saw a lot of backstage stuff not only with the churches but with many of the large para church orgs.

It is a business. Pure and simple. And a jobs program for many.

It hit me one day: Would Paul sell his sermons? Charge for his letters? He made tents to not be a burden.

It is just a view. You see things that defy scripture and wonder what on earth we are doing.

Bill K said...

"18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." - Philipians 1:18

Iron sharpens iron; but I sure am glad that many churches are giving the Gospel so people can choose to receive it.

Not every church is the same as you experienced. I've know many folks in churches who did things I thought misguided; but out of pure motives, not false. And there are a whole host who do church where the opposite is true.

The church I go to is in many ways the opposite of the American megachurch.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am not so much against Driscoll's approach in general. I do think that he is sincere in some areas.

However, it is worrisome when he encourages women to stay home and then rants and rails at women who are demonic gossipy busybodies with nothing better to do. I mean, really can't he get a life.

Next, he rants at abusive men. This is what I see. The man who preaches male headship absoluely hates abusive men because it undermines his belief in the godly authority of the male.

This is what I saw in my minister. He absolutely hated the abusive male, far more than the wife did. There is a kind of ungodly and visceral hate that comes out - a very violent approach, not just in Driscoll, but some other preachers too. I don't trust men like that.

So they are, in my view, self-centred. They only care about how the abusive male discredits the male headship doctrine.

Sure, perhaps some mean well, but that doesn't make male headship worth a hill of beans.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

CD-Host,

Okay, I’ll chase your tangents, but just this one time! :)

How many mothers in my church do I personally know who work outside the home? (Part of me is asking, “are you for real?”) Five off the top of my head; more if I spent time thinking about it. But this proves nothing either way.

>To even suggest that such mothers would come under discipline is a rather extreme suggestion and uncharacteristic of any evangelical church in the Western world today, including MH or my church.

>>There you would be wrong
.

I anticipated this response and took care to specify “evangelical.” If you look at the evangelical circles encompassing the major seminaries (i.e. Talbot/Biola), Christian publishers (i.e. IVP), and magazines with nationwide readership (i.e. Christianity Today), this is the mainstream of evangelicalism, not institutions like Bob Jones University (of BJU I can be certain) or Bible colleges or house churches.

I come from a fairly conservative church background yet have lived in large metropolitan cities most of my life. In my mind, what doesn’t shake the earth in the city and is more conservative than my experience seems atypical. I admit ignorance about what SGM is and only scant knowledge about the Integrated Family movement. The category of any church that elevates secondary principles above essential Christian doctrine as the only acceptable expression of the faith is fundamentalist, not evangelical. And for good reason, I hope Christians in America downplay their significance.

If the discussion continues on in this way, then some here are approaching calling Driscoll a fundamentalist. Now that would be funny.

BTW, the Acts29 Network churches are too loosely organized to make Acts29 a denomination.

But now getting back to the topic at hand, let me state in another way that I find MD's statements about men, women, and sexual stuff to be true of our society today. I am just amazed at how much energy is consumed judging the motivations of MD the man over the content of his sermons.

Lindon said...

"Iron sharpens iron; but I sure am glad that many churches are giving the Gospel so people can choose to receive it."

That attitude is pretty prevelant. Problem is, folks (esp staffers) emulate their leaders. There comes a time when praxis is important, too. Hebrews 10:26-31 comes to mind.

But the distance is so far from many leaders to their sheep that they have no idea WHO they really are. They only know the person on stage.

Lindon said...

I am just amazed at how much energy is consumed judging the motivations of MD the man over the content of his sermons.

July 11, 2009 10:53 PM

Motives NEVER matter. All we have to go on are his words and deeds.

CD-Host said...

Wow I'm glad to see this thread is so healthy. If nothing else we are getting a good taste of perspectives on Driscoll.

I'm going to put Suzanne and Letitia together for a moment:

Letitia: Five off the top of my head; more if I spent time thinking about it. But this proves nothing either way.

I'm assuming this is in my response to top 20 women.

If we assume that only 2% of the women were working mothers you odds of getting to 5 would be
3 thousands of a percent. To even get to a 3% chance I have to assume it is about 10% of the population. And that is not counting the fact that there is a negative bias (i.e. working mothers are more likely to know each other and less likely to know the non working mothers..).

So it actually tells me quite a bit. It tells me that working mothers are common in your congregation which is the big point in dispute. Is it plausible that he would make that mistake.

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

I think we are on the same page regarding 1Tim 5:8. Grudem, et al laid the groundwork and Driscoll is a perfect example of how this strategy plays out. I'm guessing he got the idea that the verse even says anything specific to men from the KJV since even the ESV translates gender neutral.

As far as what I like about him, it is what I said in the article he is honestly addressing a serious problem in the church that no one else is addressing. He's constructing a style of ministry to reach out to young men. If you think evangelism is important you have to get people between 16 and 23. After that it is too late. And there are 2 sexes.

The second reason is I think he's raising good issues about the direction that Christianity has gone as a result of having to maintain a female driven membership policy. Images like:
http://www.freewebs.com/jimyouarejim/JesusChildrenLamb.jpg
http://aholeinmyheart.com/images/JesusLamb2.jpg
http://www.jenesworld.com/3D_FRAMES/Jesus/JesusNChildren-5.jpg

Really do fail to capture the majesty of the Logos.
And we need some balance with images like:
http://www.bib-arch.org/images/e-features/John_Martin_Painting.jpg
http://www.ldolphin.org/ezekiel/ezekiel-vs.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MryQii-dvu8/SIckA_HeFQI/AAAAAAAADT4/DYYranAxiGs/s400/ezekiel.gif

As I mentioned to Peter, I probably fall into his "chickified men" heck I even own and wear sweater-vests (one of Driscoll's cardinal sins for men) And I find the "gentile healer" imagery totally unmoving. I get that God has multiple faces but I like other ones than Jesus as Florence Nightingale or Snow White. Angels of the Lord cure the sick and turn cities into salt.

Douglas Wilson (who I won't defend on the "he's not as sexist as you think" charge since he is probably more sexist than you think) also has spoken about this. But he doesn't get art the way Driscoll does. Wilson sees the problem in a completely left brain way, while really it is a right brain problem.

I also do genuinely agree with Letitia that he is saying lots of things about sex that are true. The evangelical community has serious marital problems caused by tremendous distortion of expectations. Driscoll seems to be unraveling those. And yeah I see it is really healthy. And my opinion is that in general the things that really seem to bother people are not so much what he says about women but what he says about men.

Then of course there is the whole Emerging Church / Postmodernism thing which is a big plus.

But yes he is a complementarian. You and I disagree on how hard core he is on this issue. But I think mainly we disagree on how we score preachers. I see Driscoll as having communicated Rob Bell's ideas to people Rob Bell cannot reach.

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

I think we are on the same page regarding 1Tim 5:8. Grudem, et al laid the groundwork and Driscoll is a perfect example of how this strategy plays out. I'm guessing he got the idea that the verse even says anything specific to men from the KJV since even the ESV translates gender neutral.

As far as what I like about him, it is what I said in the article he is honestly addressing a serious problem in the church that no one else is addressing. He's constructing a style of ministry to reach out to young men. If you think evangelism is important you have to get people between 16 and 23. After that it is too late. And there are 2 sexes.

The second reason is I think he's raising good issues about the direction that Christianity has gone as a result of having to maintain a female driven membership policy. Images like:
http://www.freewebs.com/jimyouarejim/JesusChildrenLamb.jpg
http://aholeinmyheart.com/images/JesusLamb2.jpg
http://www.jenesworld.com/3D_FRAMES/Jesus/JesusNChildren-5.jpg

Really do fail to capture the majesty of the Logos.
And we need some balance with images like:
http://www.bib-arch.org/images/e-features/John_Martin_Painting.jpg
http://www.ldolphin.org/ezekiel/ezekiel-vs.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MryQii-dvu8/SIckA_HeFQI/AAAAAAAADT4/DYYranAxiGs/s400/ezekiel.gif

As I mentioned to Peter, I probably fall into his "chickified men" heck I even own and wear sweater-vests (one of Driscoll's cardinal sins for men) And I find the "gentile healer" imagery totally unmoving. I get that God has multiple faces but I like other ones than Jesus as Florence Nightingale or Snow White. Angels of the Lord cure the sick and turn cities into salt.

Douglas Wilson (who I won't defend on the "he's not as sexist as you think" charge since he is probably more sexist than you think) also has spoken about this. But he doesn't get art the way Driscoll does. Wilson sees the problem in a completely left brain way, while really it is a right brain problem.

I also do genuinely agree with Letitia that he is saying lots of things about sex that are true. The evangelical community has serious marital problems caused by tremendous distortion of expectations. Driscoll seems to be unraveling those. And yeah I see it is really healthy. And my opinion is that in general the things that really seem to bother people are not so much what he says about women but what he says about men.

Then of course there is the whole Emerging Church / Postmodernism thing which is a big plus.

But yes he is a complementarian. You and I disagree on how hard core he is on this issue. But I think mainly we disagree on how we score preachers. I see Driscoll as having communicated Rob Bell's ideas to people Rob Bell cannot reach.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

CD-host,

I disagree on many details. I think that the male bias with reference to 1 Tim. 5:8 comes from the NIV or ESV or RSV or any version. I do NOT think Driscoll reads or has read the KJV.

I believe that it is the teaching that there is male representation in the masculine pronoun which has mislead many men to believe the scripture teaches the priority of the male. This is the doctrine of Bruce Ware, Grudem, Poythress et al and it has entered the psyche of the average evangelical Christian to the point that they are incapable of reading the Bible and understanding what it really says.

All they do now is open the text and viualize the male when they see a masculine pronoun. This is a false teaching regarding how women arein the image of God. For these men, a woman can only be in the image of God, if she is under male headship, if she is subordinated.

********

Does the church need to be unchickified? Well, I bet there has been a gender imbalance in the church for 20 centuries, strong men leaders and mostly women followers. Who knows?

It is only in times of big mission pushes that men really can see something that challenges them. (But women also responded to the mission challenges.)

In the 19th century expansion, many men (and women) went as missionaries and this gave them the opportunity to be real leaders, real men, to touch the dirt, to be tough and struggle with adversity and so on. Like the crusades.

This has changed because of global changes. You can't just go to the jungles as a missionary any more. So that outlet for men has dried up.

Is this the fault of feminism? No, it is not. The Canadian arctic doen't need men from the south to go and hunt gold or preach the gospel either.

Is this the fault of feminism or women? No, the world has changed and the only frontier is in outer space.

These are the issues men need to address, not how to get more sex.

Sure, sex may be a problem but making women subject is NOT going to turn women on.

Power is an aphrodisiad, so if Christianity subjugates women, pffftt - they are turned off.

But, if Christianity says, women have no power except sexual power zzzzttt women turn on.

But what about women who do not have power through sex. Why can't they have the same rights to be a human being as men? Oh no. If you are a woman who is not sexy, then you have no right to exist.

Really, this is so disgusting - that Christianity has come to this.

I don't disagree that men need sex, but complementarianism is a terrible crime all around.

I think part of the reason Driscoll is communicating is because he touches the baser part of human character. That is no plus for me.

I do see your point, but I disagree on the answer.

The big male hero in the last generation was CT Studd. He spent most of his life in Africa, without his wife, BTW, who was distraught at him leaving her over and over again. He came home, she got pregnant and he left again. She cared for the growing family in England and he preached the gospel in Africa.

It was his self-sacrifice, his rejection of being tied to his wife's apron strings, his travels, risks, dangers, and his whole view that men do not need women, that appealed to the young men of his generation. Men wanted a challenge, to tough it out, and CT Studd did that. He really did that.

Not that I think much of Studd either for abandoning his wife, but I just want to show that men have a need to do something, they just don't know what. Men need a frontier. That's the problem.

My son spent a couple of years in the French Foreign Legion - perhaps there could be some arrangement like that for men who do not want to be pussified.

Lydia said...

"I think part of the reason Driscoll is communicating is because he touches the baser part of human character. That is no plus for me"

I agree. I am also wondering how Christians like Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand made it in marriage? No good sex for 15 years apart in a Romanian prison for preaching the Gospel.

I am increasingly stunned at how shallow Christendom has become.

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

CD-host,

I disagree on many details. I think that the male bias with reference to 1 Tim. 5:8 comes from the NIV or ESV or RSV or any version. I do NOT think Driscoll reads or has read the KJV.

I checked the RSV and the NIV have "anyone" for 1 Tim 5:8. I'm not sure where he got the idea this was about men, the KJV seems to be the only popular version that uses a masculine pronoun.

I believe that it is the teaching that there is male representation in the masculine pronoun which has mislead many men to believe the scripture teaches the priority of the male. This is the doctrine of Bruce Ware, Grudem, Poythress et al and it has entered the psyche of the average evangelical Christian to the point that they are incapable of reading the Bible and understanding what it really says.

Agreed.

All they do now is open the text and viualize the male when they see a masculine pronoun. This is a false teaching regarding how women arein the image of God. For these men, a woman can only be in the image of God, if she is under male headship, if she is subordinated.

Yes which leads into the whole Gothard covering philosophy.

Does the church need to be unchickified? Well, I bet there has been a gender imbalance in the church for 20 centuries, strong men leaders and mostly women followers. Who knows?

I'm going to make a USA reference here and this is from ignorance of Canadian religious history.
I'm going to apologize in advance for doing this, it is rude of me to ask you cross the historical divide but I don't have the knowledge to do this in a non American way. So I'm sorry.

OK I'd put this at the 2nd great awakening with the termperance movement. Anti-masturbation, anti-drinking, anti-slavery pro women. This is when I would guess the imbalance happened. On the one hand this was a moral high point for Christianity, when Christianity was on the right side of so many issues: suffrage, abolitionism, public health.... On the other hand these social issues driven Christianity probably had a female focus. So my guess is that if it happened at all recently this is when it happened.

It is only in times of big mission pushes that men really can see something that challenges them. (But women also responded to the mission challenges.) In the 19th century expansion, many men (and women) went as missionaries and this gave them the opportunity to be real leaders, real men, to touch the dirt, to be tough and struggle with adversity and so on. Like the crusades.

Agreed that was a wonderful time. But 2:1 ratio of female to male missionaries. So this had to be after the change over. OTOH it is hard to imagine the churches today sending single women out on their own like that. 100 years ago women were more respected by the churches.

This has changed because of global changes. You can't just go to the jungles as a missionary any more. So that outlet for men has dried up.

Why not? I think there are lots of poor countries that would accept westerners coming over and building schools and hospitals. Yes they would have to have local government support rather than colonial support but I don't see any reason if churches wanted to fund large missionary organizations they couldn't.

These are the issues men need to address, not how to get more sex.

I think I'm losing you here.

Sure, sex may be a problem but making women subject is NOT going to turn women on.

I'm not so sure about the turn on. It seems the women are turned on. But lets agree it is unhealthy.

But what about women who do not have power through sex. Why can't they have the same rights to be a human being as men? Oh no. If you are a woman who is not sexy, then you have no right to exist.

I'm losing you. Are you arguing against Driscoll's view against Grudem's against what you think is mine? I'm not quite sure what thesis you are opposing.

(cont part 2)

CD-Host said...

(response part 2)

I don't disagree that men need sex, but complementarianism is a terrible crime all around.

Agreed.

I think part of the reason Driscoll is communicating is because he touches the baser part of human character. That is no plus for me.

Oh absolutely. That's definitely where he is playing on baser instincts in men. He's channeling male aggression and anger rather than delegitimizing it. But most religion rites operate on an emotional level.

I do see your point, but I disagree on the answer. The big male hero in the last generation was CT Studd. He spent most of his life in Africa, without his wife, BTW, who was distraught at him leaving her over and over again. He came home, she got pregnant and he left again. She cared for the growing family in England and he preached the gospel in Africa.

It was his self-sacrifice, his rejection of being tied to his wife's apron strings, his travels, risks, dangers, and his whole view that men do not need women, that appealed to the young men of his generation. Men wanted a challenge, to tough it out, and CT Studd did that. He really did that.

Not that I think much of Studd either for abandoning his wife, but I just want to show that men have a need to do something, they just don't know what. Men need a frontier. That's the problem.


He met her in China. I'd think he could have brought her with him rather than leave her in England. But yeah I think he was wrong to marry given the life he wanted to lead.

My son spent a couple of years in the French Foreign Legion - perhaps there could be some arrangement like that for men who do not want to be pussified.

I didn't know you kids were that age. I think the idea of the Legion is great. Allowing people to serve, get Français par le sang versé, etc... That's a good analogy for what Driscoll is doing but at a much lower level of intensity.

believer333 said...

"The evangelical community has serious marital problems caused by tremendous distortion of expectations. Driscoll seems to be unraveling those. And yeah I see it is really healthy. And my opinion is that in general the things that really seem to bother people are not so much what he says about women but what he says about men. "

Agreed that the evangelical community has serious marital problems about sex. However, I don't think that is solved by telling men their wives should be giving them more sex at their request, or saying what kind of sex is OK. Agreed also that some things Driscoll says to men are good for them to hear. And some of the things Driscoll says to and about women are not good for women. Perhaps, if he stuck to talking to men, there would be better balance.

believer333 said...

".I think God is so Holy and even the Name of Jesus Christ is so Holy that I literally cringe for Mark every time he opens his mouth and says crude things describing our Lord and His Word to us not to mention how he speaks of his sisters in Christ. His excuse is that Paul talks like that but we just do not have ENOUGH exampes and they certainly do not rise to Driscoll's level of vulgarity and shock jock appeal."

Lin, I agree totally!

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I don't think Driscoll has seen military service.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

CD-host,

It is the era of software theology. In the software, tis, which is the Greek word for anyone, and means either male or female, is tagged masculine. Check it out in Greekbible.com.

There is a universal masking of the true nature of the Greek language. If you compare the old lexicons, mine is from 1869, tis is masc. or fem. but in the software, tis is labeled as masculine all over the place.

Christianity has been trashed by those who have set up a fake religion that looks like Christianity in some superficial way.

I don't think Driscoll knows this though. He is a naive and gullible follower of Grudem. But Grduem too is less than observant when it comes to the lexicons. He also is a software theologian. Negligent and uninformed as to how languages actually work.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

CD-Host,
So it actually tells me quite a bit. It tells me that working mothers are common in your congregation which is the big point in dispute. Is it plausible that he would make that mistake.


The demographics of St. Louis and Seattle differ significantly, so, like I said, the fact that 5 out of 20 women are working mothers (25%) that attend my church isn't all that meaningful with respect to MD. It makes more sense to assume that MD simply misspoke when he said that every mother in his church did not work outside the home. In a congregation of 6-7,000 Seattle urbanites, that's pretty hard to believe. It makes more sense to refer to the mothers on staff or the wives of men on staff at MHC.

believer333,
If MD stuck to just talking about men (and not women), wouldn't that be unbalanced? Both genders behave atrociously in gender-specific ways (generally speaking), and if a pastor is going to point out the faults of one gender, I think he should point out the faults of the other as well.

CD-Host said...

Letitia --

makes more sense to assume that MD simply misspoke when he said that every mother in his church did not work outside the home. In a congregation of 6-7,000 Seattle urbanites, that's pretty hard to believe. It makes more sense to refer to the mothers on staff or the wives of men on staff at MHC.

It might be something like that. The point about 7000 though is how low the percentage would have to be to have 0 out of 7000 be anything. As I mentioned if you assume 2000 of those 7000 are mothers, he's have to have a working mother proportion of around 3 hundredths of a percentage point to even have a 50/50 chance of being right that there are none in the church. Or to put it another another way, statistically he's have 5x as many hermaphrodites in his congregation than working mothers.

The reason I'm using you as a sounding board is because you are the closest thing we have to a Mars Hill member in this discussion.

At least as I see the debate between Suzanne and myself has been whether Mars Hill is a typical evangelical church theologically with a strongly missional culture, or an extremely right wing evangelical church with a few distinctive cultural elements. I've been arguing for the former, Suzanne for the latter (I hope she would agree with this summary). For example if I compare Mars Hill to the megachurch I went to, I heard preaching about how men shouldn't be alone in a room or a car with a woman he's not related to ever. On the other hand AFAIK pretty much no one did that.

CD-Host said...

Believer333 --

Hi and welcome to the blog.

Agreed that the evangelical community has serious marital problems about sex. However, I don't think that is solved by telling men their wives should be giving them more sex at their request, or saying what kind of sex is OK. Agreed also that some things Driscoll says to men are good for them to hear. And some of the things Driscoll says to and about women are not good for women. Perhaps, if he stuck to talking to men, there would be better balance.

Can you be specific in your objection about what kinds of sex? Where are Christians who have questions about what sorts or sexual practices are permitted or not permitted to get that information? How should a pastor respond when asked questions about specific acts? What exactly is the basis of the objection?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

CD,

I don't think I have that much commitment to the argument. Really it doesn't matter to me all that much.

I just want to demonstrate that Driscoll's faulty exegesis regarding 1 Tim. 5:8 affects how he views women and what he thinks women should to, whether they do it or not. That part doesn't matter to me. How would he know?

I also wanted to show that although it appears that I have just said a bunch of ridiculous things, - in fact, I have been citing Driscoll from his podcasts - he did say those ridiculous things. I did not make them up.

Anyway, I think he is of a different generation than me, and I don't have all that much interest in analysing him any further, except to say that he is a poor demonstration of the notion that men ought to have authority, and women should not.

He is a poor ambassador for that mistaken idea.

Peter Kirk said...

I'm enjoying catching up on this thread after a weekend away ...

Sue, there are still plenty of frontiers left for Christian work, places in where the gospel has never been preached and where suitably equipped men and women can go and plant churches. I am thinking for example of many of the district centres (small towns) in the country where I used to work. To get permission to be there, open an English language school. That may not be the best strategy for such places, but it is better than the nothing which is happening in those places today. But, CD, there were plenty of single women, many American, on that mission field, mostly in the capital city along with the men.

CD, both RSV and NIV have masculine pronouns in 1 Timothy 5:8: "his relatives ... his immediate/own family, he has denied/disowned the faith ...".

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Good points, Peter.

CD-Host said...

Peter --

Good catch. Driscoll was definitely an NIV guy at the start of the decade. I don't know when he switched. That makes much more sense than my KJV.

As for the thread. I'm always amazed which threads get lots of traffic and which don't. I guess it comes from being in blogger toddlerhood.

As for bringing back the missions culture of a century ago I think it would be fantastic. Of course the problem is that conservatives like to fund missionaries and liberals like to live in foreign countries to be missionaries (on average) and so since the denominations split left/right I'm not sure how to put humpty dumpty back together again.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

CD-Host,
Ironically, this post has trended in the comp/egal debate while my discussion at Complegal is totally about the sex. Go figure.

I think I've exhausted my usefulness here. Thanks for the dialogue! I would welcome your comments on my blog if you'd like to inquire further.

Peace,
*Letitia*

CD-Host said...

Letitia --

Thank you for dropping by, it looks like it is wrapping up. That being said I read through the thread where everyone was offended by Driscoll's "if you struggle with porn get married".... This was written to a woman over 1600 years ago by Saint Jerome with essentially the same theme:

Marriage is the work by which it is possible for a female having lost God's grace through fornication to regain it, "If you are a true virgin, why do you fear her careful guardianship; and, if you have fallen, why do you not openly marry? Wedlock is like a plank offered to a shipwrecked man and by its means you may remedy what previously you have done amiss."

Persiflage said...

Wow, quite a discussion you had here. My comments would be late, but after reading most of it here are my passing thoughts -

First - I don’t understand what makes complementarianism such “a terrible crime” and “misinterpretation of Scripture.” I’m not familiar with the term so I looked it up - Theopedia defined it as - “the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, yet they are created to complement each other via different roles in life and in the church.”

So men and women have different God given roles? That sounds Biblical. I’m sure this viewpoint can be abused, but I have yet to hear an example of Driscoll abusing it.

I also don’t see Driscoll’s demographic simply being men in their 20s. What Driscoll says appeals to and rings true to men everywhere, no matter how old they are.

Second - yes, Driscoll is abused for actually talking about sex. He gets abused by conservatives for talking about it. He gets abused by liberals because he says that there’s nothing wrong with men having sex drives that are attracted to beautiful women. Nowhere has he ever blamed women for their husbands committing adultery. When accused of doing so, he’s simply explained that if you listen to what he actually said, it was that wives should consider it a responsibility to try and be attractive to their husbands. Really offensive, right? This does not make Driscoll a sexist.

Third - freedom4captives kept implying that Driscoll is somehow threatened by anything feminine. No, Driscoll, like most men is just not attracted the overly feminine American church. Complaining that the worship songs are romantic ballads to Jesus doesn’t mean you are threatened by femininity, it just means you no desire to be feminine yourself.

Being young and aggressive is by no means unBiblical, immature or unChristlike. The Holy Spirit is not interested in purging aggression out of men - sin is what needs to be purged. Aggressive masculine behavior is by no means the equivalent of sinful, even if many churches teach that it is. And is the church today primarily female? Yes it is. Look at the authors who have analyzed American church attendance records over the last 100 years. Pretty much all American churches have a 60/40 women to men gender gap, while many are more like 70/30.

Fourth - Gem also implied that Driscoll blamed men’s adultery on women. This isn’t true - read what he actually wrote and then quote him.

Persiflage said...

Sixth - Linden said -

“I literally cringe for Mark every time he opens his mouth and says crude things describing our Lord and His Word to us not to mention how he speaks of his sisters in Christ. His excuse is that Paul talks like that but we just do not have ENOUGH examples and they certainly do not rise to Driscoll's level of vulgarity and shock jock appeal. I know that many do not share my view so I will sign off on this topic. I can hear the charges of 'prude' now.”

There are a ton of Christians (including guys like Phil Johnson and John MacArthur) who have been deeply offended by Driscoll’s “crudity” and “vulgarity.” I partially suspect that they just heard that Driscoll has used profanity without any actual proof (quotes) of it, but they believe it and are reacting against him for it. And then they are simply offended when he talks, and sometimes jokes, about sexual themes. An example used as proof of how vulgar Driscoll is was when he was criticizing how church teaching teaches that we are the “bride of Christ” and uses the Song of Solomon to illustrate. During his sermon on it, Driscoll said -

"If so, it is weird, because Jesus keeps making out with me and touching me in inappropriate places. It's bizarre, Jesus has his hand up my shirt. That doesn't help the interpretation in any way. Now I'm gay ... or highly troubled ... or both."

To almost any guy, not only is this not offensive, it’s hilarious. It’s funny because this is precisely what we are taught. We are supposed to apply our relationship with Jesus to the Song of Solomon (which occasionally does get descriptive about what the lovers are doing). We are supposed to sing songs about hold Jesus’ hand and laying down in his arms resting our heads upon his breast. I’m not only when I say that I am incapable of worshiping God with this sort of imagery. In fact, I’m disgusted by it. So is Driscoll and he says so - exactly what every guy silently standing awkwardly silent during the worship service is thinking.

Is it wrong (and crude, dirty, vulgar and obscene) because Driscoll mentions the idea of having a sexual relationship with Jesus? When sermons and worship lyrics use bedroom imagery to describe our relationship with Jesus that is exactly what we are all thinking. Men don’t have “intimate relationships” with other men. And I’d be willing to try grit my teeth and get over my hang ups on this, except that these ideas are Biblically WRONG anyway. The “bride of Christ” analogy only applies to the church as a whole. Never once in Scripture is it used to describe an individual believer’s relationship with God. In fact, Scripture doesn’t even use the term “relationship” when referring to us and God. Jesus said “Follow me” not “let’s have a loving relationship together.” But the culture we have in our church today likes using this imagery for some reason.

Persiflage said...

Lastly - Two thoughts on McCarthy’s comments

(a) On Driscoll’s Spiritual Warfare Sermon

Listening to the sermon instead of reading that online summary. Driscoll doesn’t once say that all women are Satanic gossipers. He specifically refers to problems that he and his wife had in the past with some aggressive gossiping and some emotionally manipulative women. He wasn’t protecting his wife from having any friends. In fact, he was talking about protecting her against other women who would wanted to use her and gossip about her because she was the pastor’s wife.

Just because he’s willing to say he’s met some manipulative and harmful women out there is no reason to start exaggerating to make it sound like Driscoll is a sexist. Seconds before he upbraided the women in his congregation against gossiping, he had just finished preaching at the men telling them to stop going out to get drunk with their buddies - because Scripturally that was “participating in darkness.” Any reasonable person shouldn’t find something in this sermon to be offended at.

(b) On Driscoll’s use of I Timothy 5:8, which says in the ESV -

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Some passages in Greek are entirely gender generic without the any masculine or feminine form (2 Thess. 3:10 for example). But in I Tim. 5:8, the words are masculine in form.

“anyone” - τις - nominative singular masculine

“his relatives” - ιδιων - genitive plural masculine

“his household” - οικειων - genitive plural masculine

“he had denied” - ηρνηται - third person singular

Now does masculine form always mean the first is only exclusively referring to the male? No. Just like with masculine English pronouns, masculine Greek adjectives can sometimes be gender neutral. Could they be gender neutral in this verse? I think so. But can this verse be unquestionably applied to men? Yes - and that is exactly what Driscoll is doing. I don’t see how that misquotes, misinterprets or invents anything.

I personally found the video mentioned - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WPVxndUcHQ - to be exactly when many men need to hear - “If you cannot provide for your family, you are not a man … If you’re an able bodied man, your job is to provide for the needs of your family … The Scriptures say the man lovingly leads the family, provides and protects, the woman helps him, is his mate right alongside, equal image bearer of God, they’re different with different roles and tasks …”

Basically, here’s the deal. Driscoll isn’t worried about offending other Christians. When he yells at men about abusing women, that it’s “hate,” that’s exactly the kind of stuff that works when talking to men. As a guy who’s a sinner, sometimes I need a righteously angry older guy to get in my face and tell me to get my act together. When Driscoll talks about sex, he’s not being “vulgar” or “shallow,” he just doesn’t think there is anything wrong with talking about it - even sometimes discussing the details about it. This is what guys do because we don’t think it’s wrong unless the church has told us it is.

Driscoll and his energetic church planting ministry is reaching the lost. And part of that is because he calls BS when he sees it, and to nonChristian people who have been turned off by either conservative fundamentalism or liberal evangelicalism, they see that he’s genuine.

Peter Kirk said...

Persiflage, I appreciate a lot of what you have written, without entirely agreeing with it. I'm glad that Driscoll "calls BS when he sees it, and to nonChristian people who have been turned off by either conservative fundamentalism or liberal evangelicalism, they see that he’s genuine".

But I have to call you in on one point, which is about the Greek. Do you actually know any Greek, or have you simply looked up words in a parsing guide? Sadly some of those parsing guides are less than perfect in their details.

Did you get this from Greekbible.com? Note what Suzanne wrote about this in her comment of July 12, 2009 10:35 PM.

If you had taken first or maybe second semester Greek, you would know that τις is NOT specifically nominative singular masculine, but masculine OR feminine. Maybe whoever wrote the computerised parsing guide had to check one box or the other, and he (almost certainly!) chose "masculine" because he thought that that fitted the context better. But the Greek word here is NOT specifically masculine.

Similarly ιδιων, like all genitive plurals of adjectives, is not specifically masculine but can be any gender, but that is irrelevant to the point because the gender here is that of the relatives, not of the person whose relatives they are.

I accept that οικειων is masculine, because οικειος is a masculine noun, referring to the household members although in a case like this, like the plural of αδελφος, used of a gender mixed group. At least I presume that no one is trying to argue that the duty of care here is only to male relatives and household members, especially in the context of verse 3.

And then of course ηρνηται, like all Greek finite verbs, is not marked for gender and can equally mean “she has denied” and “he has denied”.

So, as the Greek scholar Suzanne and I wrote (and the Greek scholars Erasmus and Calvin agreed! - as discussed I think on TC Robinson's parallel thread), there really is nothing in the Greek of this verse (apart from the context, which is ambiguous) that is "masculine in form" in a way which suggests that the "anyone" here is specifically masculine, or specifically feminine.

You ask, "can this verse be unquestionably applied to men? Yes." And I agree, yes. But then, can this verse be unquestionably applied to women? I would again say yes. But would Driscoll? Some of his reported comments seem to suggest that he would not.

And if he makes this distinction he is being unfaithful to what the Bible teaches in the original Greek, being misled by a bad translation (and a bad parsing guide) which wrongly implies that this verse is written to men only. The trouble is, to quote Suzanne, Driscoll is also "a software theologian. Negligent and uninformed as to how languages actually work."

CD-Host said...

Persiflage --

The problems of complementarianism are kind of a regular conversation with many of the posters. In general:

1) Questionable apologetics which end up promoting mistranslation and heresy.

2) Completely false history

3) Performing social worker / psychologist functions in very bad and destructive ways.

I don't expect you to necessarily believe that but that's what you will see.

I also don’t see Driscoll’s demographic simply being men in their 20s. What Driscoll says appeals to and rings true to men everywhere, no matter how old they are.

I agree about it ringing true, I ain't in my 20s. That being said you can think about age range when you consider the topics. He doesn't talk about teenage children, or grandchildren problems. He doesn't talk about empty nester type issues. In the other direction he doesn't talk about the stresses of middle school.

There are a ton of Christians (including guys like Phil Johnson and John MacArthur) who have been deeply offended by Driscoll’s “crudity” and “vulgarity.” I partially suspect that they just heard that Driscoll has used profanity without any actual proof (quotes) of it, but they believe it and are reacting against him for it.

I don't think it is that small a conflict. The Reformed community is opposed to most outreach (missional) efforts in practice. In principle they are in favor but in practice they generally intensely dislike them. And they can't be convinced based on number evidence because they believe in election.

Missional Christianity means you build a congregation of 1st generation Christians. 1st generation Christians bring with them all sorts of baggage. In terms of fundamentalism and missional outreach I actually think the Hassidic Jews
have the best policy. Each week you get one new command and if it gets too hard you can slow down. So after about 12 years you are following "all the rules" but it starts off with, "this week you can't eat the flesh off a live animal".

MacArthur wants to start off with: rules about sex, rules about profanity, rules about modesty and dress, rules about what movies you can see, rules about how you spend your money.... Because if you don't suddenly have a desire to follow all those rules then you aren't a new creation and you are lost.

___

As for Driscoll's critique of the bride of Christ imagery I agree with you. By identifying us as the passive recipient of God's acts for a man once you apply a sexual metaphor you either end up with a female image or a catamite image. The imagery seems to appeal to women though. In a lot of the other discussions this whole Driscoll thing kicked off there were comments about Jesus as the ideal husband. This is a perfect example of the problem that Driscoll is correcting.

Persiflage said...

CD-Host,

Yeah, I’m sure complementarianism can definitely be abused. But at the basics, do I believe Scripture affirms such a thing as God-given male and female gender roles. If that makes me a complementarian, that’s cool. I also believe that men and women are equal spiritually in the eyes of God, politically and socially. Being created for different roles doesn’t mean that you don’t have the same rights as everyone else, that you are in any way inferior, or that one role is better than the other.

Driscoll, like everyone else, is not perfect (and he’s apologized before and admitted as much). And I could easily see him reacting against our culture’s denial of nonphysical gender differences, and taking the pendulum too far in the other direction. Even so, I’ve yet to see him quoted where he says something horribly wrong or “sexist” on this issue.

Because of this controversy, I’ve come to admire Driscoll. But I’m sure I could still find things about him that I disagree with.

Peter,

Thanks for the clarification. I do not pretend to be a Greek scholar by any means. All I have is a Strong’s Concordance, an Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, and Lexicon resources on the web (I haven’t tried using Greekbible.com before, but I was using the Lexicon on Biblos.com, which I’ve found very useful since it takes each New Testament verse and compares it with 10 English translations, 9 Greek translations, 1 Hebrew, and 1 Latin and a number of other languages). So I’m definitely just a layman on this.

I’ll take your word for it that the Greek adjectives in I Timothy 5:8 are gender neutral. Again, even if they were masculine, couldn’t they still be used in a gender neutral sense like English pronouns are anyway?

You’re saying that, because they are gender neutral in this verse, it can be unquestionably applied to women, stating that they have the duty to provide for their family as much as men do? I could easily see that being true. Although, the duty to “provide for your family” could easily be different when applied to women than it is when applied to men. God has given us different strengths and abilities to meet particular needs in different ways.

I guess the only thing that bothers me is the claim that Driscoll is blatantly misinterpreting this verse by saying it applies to men (has he actually said only men?). I haven’t heard him discuss the Greek, nor heard him deny that that this verse could technically be applied to women in their own way. But I’ll admit I’m only referring my own limited research on him, and the stuff given as examples in this thread’s discussion.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Although, the duty to “provide for your family” could easily be different when applied to women than it is when applied to men. God has given us different strengths and abilities to meet particular needs in different ways.

Was Lydia's responsibility in providing for her household any different from a man's? Does the scripture say that women have a different kind of providing, or is providing just that, seeing that members of your household have food and shelter?

Unfortunately the English gives the impression that the Greek says "his" for household and relatives, but it does not. There is no "his" in Greek at all, this is added to make the English sound right. I'll add some comments to your notes,

1. “anyone” - τις - nominative singular masculine

- this is masculine or feminine

2. “his relatives” - ιδιων - genitive plural masculine

- there is no "his" in Greek and the relatives are the widows mentioned earlier

3. “his household” - οικειων - genitive plural masculine

- also the widows

4. “he had denied” - ηρνηται - third person singular

- no masculine here either

Although I believe that a man should provide for his family, I do not believe that women do not also have full responsibility and accountability for their own family. Along with full accountability, women have full authority. I agree that in some ways, men and women are different, but with respect to full accountability and authority, they are equal.

Complementarians typically deprive women of full responsibility and therefore of full authority.

Peter Kirk said...

Persiflage, thanks for your response. I agree that if this kind of statement in Greek did include one or more formally masculine pronouns, as many similar statements do, the pronouns would still be gender neutral in their meaning. This means that the statement would apply equally to women and men, unless there is something in the context or the real world situation clearly going against this (as for example in 1 Corinthians 7:36 as Paul doesn't have lesbian marriage in mind!)