fuller seminary’s ‘the burner’ blog reviews mark driscoll’s new book on sex (er, marriage)

Mark Driscoll's "Real Marriage"David Moore of “The Burner” (Fuller Theological Seminary’s blog), has posted two reviews of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s (and his submissive-by-God’s-command wife, Grace’s) new book, Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.

The first review is entitled: “(It Seems) Mark Driscoll Thinks Wives Are Only Good for Sex.” The second review is entitled “Mark Driscoll’s Chauvinist Views on Appropriate Roles in Marriage.”

Both reviews are, unfortunately, dead on.

In the first review, an editor’s note points out that the words “(It Seems)” were added to the title after complaints in the comments area that it was too harsh. They should have left it the way it was, for the review accurately articulates Driscoll’s obsession with his own powers of extrasensory perception and psychic visions (which I’ve critiqued earlier), and his ability to use them as a time-traveling voyeur to ‘see’ the sexual pasts of his wife and those he counsels.

The Burner’s review states:

Listen to how many times Mark considers women (and specifically Grace–his wife and co-author) as merely sexual beings:

“One night…I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core. I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating. It was like watching a film–something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelation I sometimes receive…Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her. But God told me to marry Grace, I loved her, I had married her as a Christian, we were pregnant, and I was a pastor with a church plant filled with young people who were depending on me.” (11-12)

“Day after day, for what became years, I spent hours meeting with people untangling the sexual knots in their life, reading every book and every section of the Bible I could find that related to their needs…I had a church filled with single young women who were asking me how they could stop being sexually ravenous and wait for a Christian husband, then I’d go home to a wife whom I was not sexually enjoying. One particularly low moment occurred when a newly saved married couple came in to meet with me. I prayed, then asked how I could serve them. She took charge of the meeting, explained how she really liked her body and sex, and proceeded to take out a list of questions she had about what was acceptable as a Christian for her to do with her husband. It was a very long and very detailed list…After they left the counseling appointment to get to work on the list of acceptable activities, I remember sitting with my head in my hands just moaning and asking God, “Do you really expect me to do this as a new Christian, without a mentor or a pastor, in the midst of my marriage, and hold on for the next fifty years?”

“Perhaps the most damaged among us are prostitutes whose bodies have been sacrificed to the god of sex.” (112)

“As with many things in marriage, communication is key. When I came to the conclusion that the cure for a lot of my moodiness was having more frequent sex with my wife, I simply told her. Yes, it’s that simple… [He goes on to state that when he tried to talk to Grace about his depression, she talked too much about emotions] The truth was I needed to have more frequent sex with my wife, and we needed to discuss how that could happen…To make matters worse, seemingly every book I read by Christians on sex and marriage sounded unfair. Nearly every one said the husband had to work very hard to understand his wife, to relate to her and when he did that to her satisfaction then, maybe, she would have sex with him as a sort of reward.”

“Some couples use [anal sex] to prevent pregnancy. In conjunction with the rhythm method of birth control in which normal penis-vagina intercourse is suspended on a woman’s days of fertility, it is possible to use anal sex as an option.” (186)

This might be a new low for Christian marriage books. Is there more to marriage that male sexual satisfaction?

In a second review, The Burner explores Driscoll’s apparent misogynistic approach to sex and marriage:

Driscoll follows this line of thinking in creative ways. The man is the really, really important one in the marriage:

“In this season we shifted into ministry-and-family mode, neglecting our intimacy and failing to work through our issues. This became apparent to me when my pregnant wife came home from a hair appointment with her previously long hair (that I loved) chopped off and replaced with a short mommish haircut. She asked what I thought, and could tell from the look on my face. She had put a mom’s need for convenience before being a wife. She wept.” (11)

See? He doesn’t hate his wife–she’s just not as important as him.

“Men, we can help our wives by serving them, especially if they are working outside the home or have children who can take forever to get down for bed. This may include, if finances permit, a housekeeper or other help to free up some of your wife’s energy.” (166)

Heaven forbid that the husband actually help his wife himself. Not to mention the implied belief that household duties and childrearing are the wife’s job.

“In choosing a church, it must be a church that the husband wants to attend. Too often the wife is the one choosing the church because it meets her emotional desires and the children’s programming needs… [He explains that men don’t like to go to church.] To curb this trend, you, the husband, need to take the initiative to find a church that you also find challenging, one that is filled with men you respect, enjoy and would pursue godly relationships with.” (59)

Poor women. They can’t distinguish between their girly feelings and their need to worship God corporately in a community of faith.

I shall also refer you to reviews by Rachel Held Evans, which in part reads:

But by far the most disturbing part of the book is the first chapter, in which Mark and Grace go into extraordinary detail about their troubled sexual relationship. In this section, Grace is often cast as the damaged and sinful wife who withholds sex from her deserving husband, Mark the hero who is justified in leaving his wife but instead comes along to rescue her. The amount of guilt and shame that pervades this part of the book makes me so sad.

I shall conclude with the following:

Mark Driscoll is now the Christian equivalent of Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos: His fanatic cult followers buy his skubala because they’re nuts, while the rest of us watch incredulously and protest the horrific train wreck.

I shake my head as Mark Driscoll makes his money selling harmful waste in the name of the Lord. What? You don’t think it’s about saying outrageous things to stir controversy and make money selling books? Why, there’s even a book tour and a giveaway of an iPad filled with all of Driscoll’s sermons.

i see nutjob: mark driscoll’s psychic visions and extrasensory perception

You have absolutely got to be kidding me! Mark Driscoll is becoming the Glenn Beck of Evangelical Neo-fundamentalism: you desperately want to ignore him, but he keeps saying crazy crap and posting it online.

Scott has an excellent commentary on Driscoll’s latest diarrhea of the mouth. In sum, the words “delusional,” “bully,” “non-discerning,” “terrible scholar,” and “Mickey Mouse” are involved.

Please allow me to add “nutjob.” (And I agree, Scott, methinks the Driscoll train is about to go off the rails.)

It’s not enough to be a bully and an open advocate for the subjugation of women and homosexuals. But now, Mark Driscoll is admitting HE SEES THINGS!, as in, bilocative visions and psychic extrasensory perception in his head as well as back through time! In fact, Mark Driscoll claims he can see your past abuses from 10 years ago! He claims:

On occasion, I see things. I see things. Uh, like, I was meeting with one person, and they, they didn’t know this, but they were abused when they were a child, and I said, ‘When you were a child, you were abused. This person did this to you – physically touched you this way.” And he said, “How do you know?” And I said, “I don’t know. It’s like I got a TV right here and I’m seeing it.” He said, “No, that never happened.” And I said, “Go ask ’em. Go ask ’em if they actually did what I think they did, and I see that they did.” And they went and asked this person, “When I was a little kid, did you do this?” And the person said, “Yeah, but you were only like a year or two old. How do you remember that?” And they said, “Well, Pastor Mark told me.” (Watch from the 0:06 mark).

Driscoll then offers a humble disclaimer stating,

I’m not a guru. I’m not a freak. I don’t talk about this. If I did talk about it, everybody’d want to meet with me and I’d end up like one of those guys on TV. (Watch from the 0:45 mark)

The irony of the previous statement is palpable.

Then, not surprisingly, Driscoll goes on to tell the story of a woman cheating on her husband (of course):

There was one woman I dealt with, she’d never told her husband that she had committed adultery on him early in the relationship. I said, “You know,” (she’s sitting there with her husband) I said, “You know, I think the root of all this, I think Satan has a foothold in your life ’cause you’ve never told your husband about that really tall blond guy that you met at the bar, and then you went back to the hotel, and you laid on your back, and you undressed yourself, and he climbed on top of you, and you had sex with him, and snuggled up with him for a while, and deep down in your heart, even though you had just met him, you desired him because secretly he is the fantasy body type.” I said, “You remember that place: it was that cheap hotel with that certain colored bedspread. You did it, you had sex with the light on because you weren’t ashamed and you wanted him to see you, and you wanted to see him.” She was just looking at me like [throws hands in air]. I said, “You know, it was about ten years ago?”

I see everything [makes TV square with hands].

She says… she looks at her husband, he says, “Is that true?” She says, “Yeah.” “He was 6’2″? Blond hair? Blue eyes?” “Yeah.” (Watch from the 1:00 mark)

(Numbers 5:16-30 comes to mind.)

By the way, I’d have never guessed that Mark Driscoll would psychically see a woman cheating on her husband (and not the other way around), given his wonderful history with gender-related issues. Go figure.

And seriously, does Driscoll really end that story with, “I see everything!“?? Seriously? And he describes it as “supernatural” and “whole other realm?”

Unbelievable. Literally. Unbelievable.

And then, as if what he’s already said wasn’t enough, Driscoll goes on to offer incontrovertible evidence of his extrasensory perception skills:

“And sometimes I see things too. I see things too. I’ve seen women raped. I’ve seen children molested. I’ve seen people abused. I’ve seen people beaten. I’ve seen horrible things done. Horrible things done. I’ve seen children dedicated in occultic groups and demons come upon them as an infant by invitation. And I wasn’t present for any of it, but I’ve seen it visibly.” (Watch from the 3:10 mark in the video. Emphases mine.)

I see nutjob.

Of course, he’s claiming he possesses the “gift of discernment” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10 (“to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits (διακρίσεις πνευμάτων)…”), but rather than defining it as “understanding,” the “capacity for judgment,” or as a “discernment” akin to wisdom as is done in other biblical lists of gifts of insight (cf. 1 Kings 4:29; Job 12:20; Isaiah 29:14), and rather than considering a cognate term’s use in 1 Corinthians 2:14 (πνευματικως ανακρίνεται), where its context leads the reader to a comparison of the wisdom and foolishness of this world versus that of the next (a lesson worth reading), “Pastor Mark” interprets the “discernment of spirits” (which as a leader, he, of course, possesses), as the ability to bilocate through time, and Driscoll is claiming to be able to see his followers’ past sordid deeds in visions!!!

Sheer quackery!

I shake my head…

(HT: MPT, Scott)


Update:

It looks like the Pyromaniacs blog posted concerns about this back on Aug 15, 2011.

Unreasonable Faith also has some good commentary.

%d bloggers like this: