I have had a few weeks of listening to the teaching of Mark Driscoll, not my favourite thing to do at all. I have mitigating circumstances for this it all started with my last blog post, ‘Why Mark Driscoll is not good for our daughters’? I don’t often get caught up writing or thinking about his teaching it all leaves me feeling too cross and frustrated and sleeping very badly.
I usually leave my lovely husband Alan to debate (here, here, & here) with others who both love or hate his teaching (he really is the marmite of the Christian world).
Mark has recently turned his attention to teaching his church Mars Hill through the book of Esther, and even before it started his preview created a furore in twitterworld. I admit to having bitten, I was so upset with his view of Esther and the implication that she had choice about being taken into the harem of king Xerxes.
I was then asked the question why I felt so strongly about Mark, in response, I started to listen to his teaching in order to make sure I was not being unfair.
I have 3 reasons that I struggle with his ministry.
Mark's Meta -narrative, the big story behind all he teaches at Mars Hill, is Complemetarian: a view I have opposed for many years.
For me, whatever Mark teaches about women in the church is viewed through this lens.
I have started to listen to his teaching on Esther and in his second session he asks the question did Queen Vashti make the right decision not to parade in front of the crowds of drunken partygoers possibly naked as commanded by Xerxes? He thankfully states that she did make the right choice, although he does leave it open to his audience to debate this in their bible groups. But then he proceeds to use his meta-narrative although God is ultimately in charge, power and authourity has been given to men over their wives.
I have just commented on a blog written by an articulate complementarian young woman. I have to ask honestly if these women are writing are they not teaching?
Wayne Grudem another of Marks favourite teachers when speaking at an NFI conference in the 1990’s spoke so disingenuously about women writing books (for example Wendy Virgo) likened it to having a chat over coffee. The theological gymnastics done to make sure this was not mistaken for teaching was almost laughable if it didn’t break my heart. I remember listening to the teaching on my cassette (it was that long ago) almost breaking it when I turned it off in exasperation; he said so much that was nonsensical.
Women through history have always had to battle inequality and much abuse often at the hands of men closest to them Husbands/fathers. I know those who love Mark will say he does not do this: he loves women, he berates men about the way they treat women. He SHOUTS at men strongly to behave well. None of this changes how I feel about how his Meta narrative is not good for women.
This teaching limits women only aspiring to the role of a good wife and mum in a way that wouldn’t be said to a man to only fulfil equivalent roles. I love being a wife, thrilled by my new role as a Nana and my girls are my world, but I have never wanted limitations placed on them due to their gender. To never be able to dream beyond being a wife/mum if you feel God has chosen and equipped you to lead.
Mark teaches on marriage and women on You Tube from 26/4/10 he ends patronisingly speaks about Grace not teaching 'it is just a conversation' I think he has been listening to Wayne Grudem teaching here.
Mark's meta-narrative is Calvinist. I feel this is crucial to his view of those he speaks to. After all irresistible grace means if God never chose you in the first place, you are going to hell. This answers I feel why he can make such sweeping un-thought through statements. For Mark if you are predestined you will make the choice no matter how difficult it seems.
Marks Meta-narrative has aggressive overtones, I know this again is a personal understanding, a lady I respect greatly this week told me she loves this teaching from Mark, and has found it beneficial. Mark says that he is trying to redress the balance that Jesus is not a ‘hippy, effeminate, sandal wearer’ who preached only about loving one another and nothing else. I am not sure how to word this and do it justice but honestly I see Jesus not as a wimp in anyway to say turn the other cheek, give your tunic as well as your coat, love your neighbour as yourself, forgive others 70x7 (meaning again and again and again) He was a revolutionary, he was saying turn away anger with peace, blessed are the peacemakers, the meek, those who have humility, the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the merciful, the persecuted. He said give a cup of cold water; visit the prisoners and the sick. He said give and not take, bless others and love, love, love. I don’t see it in shouting and aggression and honestly if that makes me wimpy and wishy-washy and a woman well there you go that’s just who I am.
A woman and proud of it.
A Post by Beverley Molineaux