Real Depravity

Real Depravity?

Mark Driscoll’s new book, Real Marriage, published January 2012, is highly significant for it confirms his position as a teacher of sexual licentiousness among God’s people. Consistent with his previous teaching, Driscoll writes, ‘Legally and biblically anal sex is permissible for a married couple as Scripture does not forbid it.’ Indeed, in Real Marriage, the Driscolls appear to delight in dealing with intimate and perverted sexual matters in a way that is contrary to Scripture. The apostle Paul warns that fornication, uncleanness and filthiness should not even once be named among God’s holy people (Ephesians 5.1-17).

From the beginning of his ministry, Mark Driscoll has sought to promote lasciviousness in the Churchof Jesus Christ, as we make clear on this website. Even as a young pastor he assumed that the students and young people in his congregation ‘were all pretty horny’ (Confessions p94). This was his pretext for preaching through his favourite book of the Bible, the Song of Solomon, which he treated as a sex manual. A sermon on the Song, preached in Scotland, was so crude and vulgar that it caused outrage. In this infamous sermon Driscoll said to the congregation: ‘Ladies, let me assure you of this: if you think you’re being dirty, he’s pretty happy.’

Throughout his ministry Mark Driscoll has spoken about sex in the most lewd and irreverent way. Although he is careful to say that sex is for marriage, and that homosexuality is wrong, his handling of sexual matters is sensuous and impure. He encouraged men in his congregation to read the ‘Cosmo Girl’ magazine, and to listen to salacious sex talk radio programs (Radical reformission, page 131). The Mars Hill Church website has provided hyperlinks to two pornographic websites, one of which deals with sex toys. In her memo to leaders of The Gospel Coalition (2009), Cathy Mickels included this comment from Dr Judith Reisman (an expert on the flawed research and writings of Alfred Kinsey). Having viewed Driscoll’s recommended websites, Dr Reisman said: ‘Well, this is, at best, tragic. I don’t know if it is worse to think that these are phony church sites put out by pornographers or that they are real church sites put out by pornified churches. Words cannot describe the ignorance, arrogance and flagrant homoeroticism of these sites.’

In his ‘I see things’ outburst, Driscoll gives a graphic account of a woman in his congregation committing adultery in a hotel room, describing the sex act in graphic detail. Driscoll’s obsession with salacious sex is again brought into the open. The sex scene in Driscoll’s imagination is so explicit that he even claims to know the colour of the bedspread and the height of the adulterer. We are asked to believe that the God of Scripture, who is ‘of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness’ (Habakkuk 1.13), reveals to the pastor of Mars Hill church salacious events in the lives of his congregation. To even suggest that his pornographic vision is from God is to impugn the holy character of God.

Now Driscoll and wife Grace have produced a book on marriage, entitled Real Marriage. So what is their message for the Church? In the book Mark Driscoll tells of a revelation that he received about his wife having sex, and he feels it right and proper to put these facts about his wife into the public arena. Driscoll writes:

‘One night, as we approached the birth of our first child, Ashley, and the launch of our church, 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 so clear it was like watching a film—something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelation I sometimes receive.’

Two perceptive reviews of Real Marriage give us a good idea of what the Driscolls are about.

Review by Pastor Tim Challies

Pastor Challies of GraceFellowshipChurchin Torontocomments:

‘What the Driscolls deal with in this chapter [10], and what they deem biblical, are not only sex acts, but acts considered sexually deviant by many… The questions span self-stimulation to the use of sex toys and forms of cybersex. The most provocative of all involves sodomy within marriage. Early in the chapter they provide a grid that they say can be used to answer any question of this nature and then simply pass each act through that grid. They find that each of these, and several others, are legitimate forms of sexual expression within marriage.’

In a review posted on Tim Challies comments:

‘Another observation is that the book is graphic… Some of these acts are so intimate (perhaps invasive is also an appropriate word) that many readers will never have considered that they even exist. As a husband I would not want my wife to read some of what this chapter contains. This is not prudishness but protection. It is one thing to address specific questions that have arisen within the marriage relationship; it’s another thing altogether to introduce those questions to the marriage relationship.

Finally, Mark’s abuse of The Song of Solomon has been widely noted and discussed, but he continues to treat it as a graphic sex manual. To treat it this way is to utterly miss the point… Having read the book through two times, I’ve found myself wondering how to best measure or evaluate it, but perhaps these criteria are useful: Would I want to read it with my wife or would I encourage her to read it on her own? Would I recommend it to the people in my church? In both cases the answer is no.’

 Review by Professor Denny Burk

Denny Burk, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, writes that in chapter 10 the Driscolls gives an ethical assessment of a variety of sexual activities by invoking 1 Corinthians 6:12, ‘All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything’ as the basis for their evaluation. Burk writes:

‘Among the activities that the authors deem permissible within this taxonomy are masturbation, felatio/cunnilingus, sodomy (on both spouses), menstrual sex, role-playing, sex toys, birth control, cosmetic surgery, cybersex, and sexual medication. The Driscolls are careful to stipulate that these are activities spouses may participate in by mutual agreement, but not that they must participate in (p. 180). No spouse should be manipulated into doing anything that violates his or her conscience (p. 178)…

Yet the Driscolls give explicit instructions to wives about how they might sodomize their husbands in a pleasurable way (p. 188). Yet where in the Bible is such an activity ever commended? The Bible only contemplates such activities in the context of homosexual relationships. The Bible condemns the “unnatural” use of bodies between persons of the same-sex (Rom. 1:26-27). Why would Christian couples emulate that unnatural use in the marital bed?’

The Burk review continues:

‘I can think of a whole range of other pastoral problems that might be provoked by chapter 10. Is sexual holiness really upheld while engaging in cybersex with one’s spouse over the internet (p. 184)? Does anyone really think it wise for Christians to upload digital, sexual images of themselves to the internet even if it is only intended for a spouse? What if a third party were to intercept such an image and make it available to everyone with an internet connection? How the cause of Christ would be shamed by such a result! But the Driscolls give little consideration to the potential consequences of making private pornography even though they admit that keeping such images private “can be nearly impossible” (p. 200)!

Or what about the endorsement of “Sex Toys”? The Driscolls recommend purchasing them “from one of the more discreet Web sites” (p. 193), but this seems to me a precarious proposition. How does a Christian go about finding a “discreet” seller of sex toys? The authors give no specific vendor for such objects. Specific rather than vague guidance might be better here, since a search for “sex toys” is just as likely to connect Christians to pornography as it is to “discreet Web sites.”

Finally, I question the wisdom of addressing sexual topics in such explicit detail… there are perversions that even I have never heard of before reading about them in chapter 10 of Pastor Driscoll’s book. It seems to me that there is something wrong with that.’

 False teaching

While these two reviews draw out the depravity of Driscoll’s book, neither is prepared to call him a false teacher. However, a concerned Christian draws the obvious conclusion that the Driscolls follow a very common pattern of false teachers. ‘They preach enough truth to get their perverted doctrines a hearing. Satan is very clever and often subtle. Driscoll does share a lot of truth. It is no surprise that a book that is a “recipe for marital disaster” would contain a lot of good stuff that would make it more widely read. The enemy knows that if it was only full of this pornographic nonsense presented by a couple whose sexual baggage “caused significant problems for many years” – very few people would read it. Driscoll’s consistent and absurdly perverted preoccupation with distorted views of sexuality, in my mind, clearly marks him as someone who has “gone too far” (3 John 9). How messed up is someone who has sexual images of his wife making love with someone else as though watching a film? Male sodomy? What does he have to say or write that is too far?’

Mark Driscoll is a false teacher who has been promoting sexual lasciviousness in the church for two decades. He has used his ministry to turn the grace of God into lewdness (Jude 4). The apostle Peter warns of those who with deceptive words bring in destructive heresies that appeal to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness (2 Peter 2.10). Real Marriage is confirmation of the sexual depravity that Mark Driscoll is promoting among God’s holy people. As a skilled false teacher some of what he says has a ring of truth, and this allows him to pour sexual lasciviousness into the church. He is encouraging Christians to discuss things that should never even be mentioned among God’s people.  Here we should remember that the wicked prophet Balaam sought to destroy God’s people by seducing Israel into sexual immorality (Revelation 2.14).  Driscoll’s book Real Marriage is seeking to do the same thing. The warning of Scripture is clear: ‘Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone defies the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are’ (1 Corinthians 6.16-17).

You can learn more about Mark Driscoll’s ministry in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing.