Monday, November 20, 2006

On Mark Driscoll and Misogyny

To get the context...

Read this.
Then this.
Then this.
Then this.
If you have time, read this too. But don't hurt yourself...

To Rose (from the 3rd "Then this."),

I live in Oklahoma, not Washington State. I have never gone to any church in the Pacific Northwest. Yet I am compelled to write, because out of so many things that are wrong in the Evangelical church today, it is bizarre to read a criticism like this.
Though I have little idea about your motives and won't speculate, it is sad to see Pastor Driscoll attacked in this way and for this reason. It's funny that I get the impression that he is seen as nearly an 'arch-conservative' among many in the combox on your post and at JesusCreed, yet I can assure you that he is not the most conservative of evangelicals out there. There is among many an ongoing discussion and a wait-and-see attitude as to whether he will place himself in his preaching and actions into the “Emerging” category. Such is the vagueness of this classification and the wariness that exists between conservatives and Emergents that much is still unclear, as you can very possibly attest. However, most of the attention Pastor Driscoll receives on that count centers around the language he uses from the pulpit and the way he relates to much of his congregation (ie, is he friendly and making the Gospel seem more relevant? Or is he compromising the Gospel’s integrity by being “cool”?).

All that to say that it is interesting to see him taken to task for being “too conservative”. I read through his posts and was nodding my head at their level-headedness, having found much to commend them. In particular, his 12 bullet points about practical steps for pastoral accountability were quite well-spoken, and ring of lessons learned, thankfully not the hard way. And after having had young women throw themselves at him as he describes, I can see why! Pastor Driscoll shows discernment when he says, “Death comes to every Christian leader who goes to Jesus and Scripture for purely functional and not relational purposes.” That statement seems, to my mind, to reflect a sentiment that would be right up your alley!

Moving to the center of the issue, where you deal with gender roles, you say, “I believe the Egalitarian view of gender roles as closer to the intent of what Scripture teaches.” That is the linchpin of this issue. Having checked thru Grace Driscoll’s article to which you refer w/o linking to it, I saw a fair amount of exegesis and an awful lot of Scripture cited. In your article, I saw an allusion to Galatians 3:28 and a vague allusion to Genesis 3. Perhaps you did not intend to defend your position with Scripture here, but I should think that such a defense would not be out of place at all. You have taken your own personal and denominational traditions (which I estimate to be heavily influenced by many post-modern elements in Western society) and have called Pastor Driscoll to the dock for not hopping to it to get w/ the program! Let Scripture speak; shall we not follow Jesus' explicit example?

A point-by-point discussion might be helpful here:

Remember, I believe in an Egalitarian view of gender roles.

But you have yet to justify it Scripturally. I would be interested in seeing that fleshed out in a post soon. I’ll be watching for it, especially b/c I have never seen a convincing justification of your position.

You teach that women like me are out of God’s intended roles for women in the church and home

This would have been an ideal place to point out HOW he was wrong to teach that.

if the church allows women in ministry then homosexuals in ministry would be the next logical conclusion

History has borne that out. And it makes sense – you wish to muddy the waters of gender distinction that the Bible sets out clearly. Once they are invisible, what’s to stop the next steps?

This is not only offensive to me, it is demeaning of my personhood.

Where do you find Pastor Driscoll demeaning your personhood? Is that not defined by God in His Word? Do you believe that Pastor Driscoll believes you to be less of a person than he himself is? What can you cite to prove that?

I would consider myself a daughter of my Father in heaven rather than a daughter of Eve, as per your wife’s article.

Are you not both? (This would have been a good place to deal exegetically with the Apostle Paul’s discussions of relevant subject matter in Romans 5 and 1 Timothy 2.)

Women will be saved by going back to the role that God has chosen for them.

Again, an opportune moment to exegete 1 Timothy 2:15:
“But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”

how unchristian this statement is.

This is one of my big problems here. You are taking Pastor Driscoll to task over this, but to do it, you have to sit in judgment over the Apostle Paul and the God-breathed Scriptures. It is amazing.

It seems you hold the opinion that if I don’t follow the role that you think God has chosen for me, a role that you find favorable because of the theological lens you see through, then I am not saved.

And then you radically overreact. Where did he say that you are not saved? Do you not agree that it is entirely different to accuse someone of being wrong on this subject (which you are) than to accuse him/her of not being a true believer in Christ (which you may be, I have no idea)?

Can’t you see how even posting that women have motives such as this — my husband is a pastor so he is trapped into fidelity so I can sit back and let myself go — is offensive?

What evidence could you cite to shoot down his anecdotal citation of personal experience? Absent that, you are simply naive; are not women sinners too?

In the second post, you sound patronizing and demeaning of Gayle Haggard calling her “lovely and devoted.”

I’d say “patronizing and demeaning” is in the eye of the beholder. What would you prefer he say? “Ted Haggard’s rather plain and hopefully more or less faithful wife, Gayle…”

It did not seem to matter if Gayle Haggard was the most beautiful, devoted woman, and with her husband the most sexually active woman on the planet

You are right there, but even this point strikes me differently than the way you are using it. Much of this article leaves me thinking that you are just looking for a fight.

So for you make this statement in these terms and make it an issue of sexual impropriety, failure, and sin, in my opinion, simply misses the point.

To make “it” an issue of that? I have to say, I don’t see where you get that. I hope, for the sake of the church members under you, that you are better at exegeting the Scriptures than you are at exegeting Pastor Driscoll’s statements.

You have continually used your power to demean people with derogatory terms such as “limp wristed, and chickified”

Too much slang, I’ll give you that. These are quite insensitive. I don’t quite follow your outrage over “limp-wristed,” but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

the PAF group do not identify as a Christian group and don’t seem to be attempting to operate under the constraints of any particular religious guidelines

I strongly question your choice to use non-Christian sources to criticize a Christian over Christian doctrine. How well can an unbeliever understand this and what could s/he contribute of value?

I find it necessary…to speak out…on this present controversy because it is affecting the local body of believers who I am called to serve.

Then deal w/ it from the Scriptures within your church.
Since you cannot, however, it does not surprise me that you lash out. Perhaps you hope to distract from the fundamental problem you have – you have no biblical warrant for what you are doing. The best defense is a good offense?

the demeaning way you name-call women

I haven’t seen a single instance of him calling names. Yet you have called Driscoll a “misogynist” w/o any evidence that I can see. That is hypocrisy, and it is unwelcome.

There is enough injury inflicted from our enemy without leaders of the flock adding to the amount of injury.


I note also this reference:

good Christians may disagree without using unchristian and uncharitable words when they differ. I would call your attention to the debates between N. T. Wright and Marcus Borg...

Rose, if you believe Marcus Borg to be a Christian, your view of what that is is in serious jeopardy. This is but a symptom of the wider problem in evidence in your letter.

So, to sum up, you are calling Pastor Driscoll to apologise for concluding out of Scriptural exegesis (performed by his own wife!) that women are different from men and have different roles in life. You decline to present any compelling biblical reason for someone to believe you are in the right rather than him. You refuse to object to, and indeed tacitly support, a protest against this man for what he’s said IN HIS OWN CHURCH about a theological issue of lesser importance. You gloss over the total lack of Scriptural support for your position and refer to a rank heretic as “good Christian”. You call names while criticizing the calling of names. I don’t know anyone in this conflict and yet it is abundantly clear who is in the wrong. There is still time for you to prevent the situation from getting worse and your guilt for your sin from growing heavier. Not saying you are not a Christian. I am saying you are in the wrong.

I close with words from Grace Driscoll: “These ideas are only antiquated because our culture has labeled them as such. But we find favor in the eyes of our Lord when we seek His good and perfect will. ‘Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised’ (Prov. 31:30).”

Peace and grace to repentance to you,

P.S. to any reader - Please note the very loving and non-judgmental attitudes at the Emergent Jesus Creed post combox, particularly in comments #13, and #14 and very particularly in #18 (from a "Christian lesbian," no less, someone who should be most inclined among us to be tolerant and peaceful!).


Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective, Allan. Thank you for sharing.

the demeaning way you name-call women

"I haven’t seen a single instance of him calling names."

May I humbly and quietly offer that I personally found Mr. Driscoll's referencing women as "fluffy baby bunny rabbits" disrepectful to his sisters in Christ, regardless of difference of opinions and theology.

Thank you for the opportunity to dialogue and share.

Rhology said...

Hi Ann,

Absolutely you may offer it. Thank you for your comment and for stopping by.

I'd like to quote his statement in context here:

----All of this has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men. When asked for their perspective, some bunny rabbits simply said that they have been discriminated against long enough and that people need to "Get over it."--/--

Chauvinistic tone, yes. I'll give you that, and I can see why you would be irritated. I have two responses:
1) He is making up a ludicrous hypothetical to parallel the situations, not CALLING women fluffy bunny rabbits. And I see his point 100%: there is no Scriptural warrant for fluffy bunny rabbits to be pastors. But in this climate and given the comments made against Driscoll, the bunny rabbits have a shot at success if they just claim to be victims and claim their bunny-hood has been demeaned. There is the same Scriptural warrant for fluffy bunny rabbits to be pastors as there is for women to be pastors. It's not a role, according to Scripture, that God has made women OR bunny rabbits for. God made it for men. I don't know exactly why, but knowing why is not my job. Following His command is.

2) Consider the reaction to this, even if it is a name-call on Driscoll's part. In response, a protest is being organised. An OPEN LETTER on the Internet has been written to him that carries quite a few inconsistencies, hypocritical statements, and mischaracterisations. A Scriptural refutation has not even been attempted. This is not Washington DC and you are not ACLU lobbyists.

Are you?

I am begging all involved to act Christian-ly even if you think the other side isn't.


waterloo2 said...

clearly Driscoll has offended many women AND men. He refuses to apologize.
He's a jerk and those who don't see that are not awake!!

Rhology said...


I invite you also, in addition to making bald assertions, to interact w/ my arguments and try to debate rationally.


Anonymous said...

Oh good God. Reading this blog makes me so grateful that I don't live in a ass backwards place like Oklahoma.