We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear-and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy. CS Lewis
Twisters in the Lagoon Nebula-Hubble
TWW apologizes for the lengthy post. We believe it is important to read the rest of this analysis by WTH in its entirety. There is some other breaking news which we believe will be of interest to our readers and did not want to break up the cohesiveness of his thoughtful presentation.
For all of our readers, who have been bombarded with "hip" pastors who breathlessly follow in Driscoll's footsteps, we hope this will be one resource that you can keep in your arsenal. TWW has presented a number of posts about Driscoll and his words. We believe, with the conclusion of this series, we have given our readers extensive material to present to churches who are considering joining Acts 29 or, perhaps, inviting Driscoll to speak at their gatherings.
At the very least, and I would like to be a fly on the wall if anyone does this, this information will cause any pastor or elder, with a modicum of decorum, to feel uncomfortable. We recommend that you set up an appointment with the pastor and begin to read, out loud, the words of Driscoll in his presence. Better yet, hand him the transcript and ask the pastor to read the words aloud to you! Try to contain your laughter!! Better yet, contact us and let us do a post on it!!
Once again, we thank Wenatchee the Hatchet for sharing his thoughts with the readers of TWW
"ISSUE THREE: DRISCOLL VS A SCRIPTURE WHICH IS TRULY GIVEN TO ALL BELIEVERS
Driscoll has happily justified teaching on Song of Songs by citing 2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed and suitable for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, and for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be fit, equipped for every good work." On this rationale Driscoll spent 11 weeks discussing Song of Songs and the nature of marriage, with a few occasional remarks about how singles should be sexually pure in their singleness.
Yet how does Driscoll's interpretive gloss on Song of Songs 2:3 constitute the use of Scripture to equip all the saints so as to be fit for every good work? Is this the interpretation of Song of Songs 2:3 that Driscoll will present to his daughter Ashley? If all Scripture is divinely inspired and given to us as a gift through the Holy Spirit then the Scriptures are a gift that should be of benefit to every believer in some way. I don't see how Mark Driscoll's daughter Ashley is likely to benefit from knowing that some day, if she gets married, she can give her husband oral sex because "Papa Daddy" says that Song of Songs 2:3 says she can totally go for that. I don't precisely see how Driscoll's son "Buddy Zach" has any reason to study Song of Songs now if Song of Songs 7:2 can only be interpreted as the husband admiring his wife's genitals. Prepubescent children have no need to have the Song of Songs mentioned to them if in Driscoll's hermeneutic the only role book has is as sanctified erotica.
Christians have affirmed for millennia that the Scriptures are a gift given to all the saints to tell us about Christ and that all the scriptures, properly understood, can be read in this way. Yet Driscoll's interpretive approach toward Song of Songs not only makes it a problematic book to discuss with children, it also transforms the book into a rhapsodic account of sexual techniques and positions that not all Christians participate in even within marriage, and which, expounded at any length, present unmarried Christians with a host of potentially new temptations.
When a person explicitly rejects an allegorical reading of Song of Songs in favor of techniques and positions this can be construed as a hermeneutic of erotica or pornography. Driscoll used to advise that a Polaroid of the wife as a Bible bookmark was a great idea so long as nobody else read that Bible. Driscoll’s handling of Song of Songs reveals a peculiar contradiction between his formally stated view that all scriptures points to Christ while denying allegorical or typological elements pointing to Christ in Song of Songs because of his commitment to a strict hermeneutic of erotica toward the book. The case that Driscoll has pornified Song of Songs derives from Driscoll’s own contradictory hermeneutic toward Song of Songs in contrast to other biblical texts and not from any simplistic accusation that Driscoll encourages people to go expose themselves to porn.
ISSUE FOUR: DRISCOLL'S SELECTIVE APPLICATION OF THE BRIDE METAPHOR AND PASTORAL CONSEQUENCE
Driscoll readily grants the husband/wife metaphor everywhere ELSE in Scripture. He preached from Ephesians and Revelation and readily identified the husband/wife metaphor there. Yet Driscoll rejects the Groom/Bride metaphor in Song of Songs for the simple reason that if he accepts an allegorical or typological elements then he suspects Song of Songs promotes a weirdly homoerotic relationship between himself and Jesus. But Driscoll must surely know that Jesus Himself said that in the age to come no one will be given in marriage. Driscoll's jokes that Jesus might be having gay sex with him in Heaven if Song of Songs is an allegory about God's love for His people is simply a specious case of wanting to have things both ways. He literalizes a metaphor for the sake of illustrating why he rejects the metaphor. He never adequately addresses what the canon-wide basis for the metaphorical understanding would be. In fact, he affirms the metaphor in all other biblical literature, which makes his refusal to accept its application in the Wisdom literature even stranger. Where Puritans like Jonathan Edwards or Richard Sibbes or William Gurnall comfortably went Driscoll dare not go, apparently.
The metaphor of husband and wife in the Scriptures consistently reveals the marriage to be in a continual state of crisis. No sooner has Yahweh betrothed Himself to Israel in the wilderness than they create a golden calf. God appoints judges who turn Israel to idolatry. God grants a king and kings turn Israel away and become pioneers in idolatry. God sends prophets and the prophets are not heeded. Hosea and the other prophets take up the husband/bride metaphor to exclaim that Israel is a whoring wayward wife. Driscoll will never reject this metaphor.
Anyone who has ever attended a Mars Hill Church Good Friday service will see that the dominant theme is to reflect upon how our sins put Jesus on the Cross. Christ gave Himself up to death for the sake of His Bride, the Church. Mars Hill has emphasized this and it is part of the story. Yet it is not the whole story. That the Bride has been a wayward, sinful whore whose sin is so great it required Christ’s death is just half of Jesus’ heart toward His Bride. Driscoll's pastoral and poetic imagination falters at the point where hymnody often begins.
What wondrous love is this, o my soul, o my soul?
What wondrous love is this, o my soul?
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul …
Driscoll’s been unable to consistently articulate that Christ, in love, chose to bear the Cross for us and share death with us to reconcile us to Him. He has, however, been adept at going on at some length about the dreadful curse.
It is unsurprising that Driscoll confessed in early 2008 that he had been told by C. J. Mahaney and John Piper that he has failed to articulate the love of God for His people. This is not surprising. Let is consider the nature of the husband/bride metaphor in all of Scripture if it must be excised from the Song of Songs. Throughout the Law and the Prophets the husband/bride metaphor is used is in a setting where God’s people have to be rebuked for being disobedient to God in some way. In the Torah Israel is going to face the reality of apostasy and exile. She is already unfaithful and will remain unfaithful until disaster, rejection, and exile. In the prophets Israel is told she is a wayward, whoring wife. In the wisdom literature we get shown that if we do the right things we’ll avoid the wayward women.
In the New Testament Christ dies for the Church but the apostles, after going through what may be dubbed the honeymoon of Acts, pass through that honeymoon into the exasperating world of having to write epistles to real churches with real sins. A new Exodus has led to a new age of wandering through the wilderness of Sin until the Land of Promise is reached. Only now we do not go rushing to meet the Promise, the Promise will come to us. Yet even though in the book of Revelation we are told of the promised Wedding Feast of the Lamb, when the Church will be the spotless Bride of Christ, this is not who we are. Revelation opens with seven letters of reproof to the churches in Asia given to John the Revelator by Christ.
There is no present-tense expression in any age of the Church this side of Christ's Second Coming in which unreserved adoration and praise for God's people is given. Jesus is the Groom who rebukes and cajoles His bride for Her continual failures and worldliness and thus it is unsurprising that a man like Driscoll, in rejecting Song of Songs, can never ultimately have a vision of Christ's people that can exult in Her. It is only in Song of Songs where a husband and wife are shown speaking to each other with unbridled affection. It is only in Song of Songs where there is any "now" to the beauty of a marriage filled with mutual affection and by extension the marital metaphor for God and His people that Driscoll feels compelled to reject.
Thus a pastor like Driscoll only knows how to speak to the betrothed Bride as someone who isn’t worthy of the Groom. She’d better clean up, get her act together, and stop being so bad because her sins are bad enough that Jesus had to die for them … but it’s not quite clear Driscoll knows how to articulate the depth of the Bridegroom's love for the waiting Bride. Driscoll could preach for years on Hosea and mention the promise God makes to speak tenderly and winsomely to the wayward Bride. But where could we turn in the scriptures to see HOW God might speak in such a winsome and tender way to such a Bride?
Well, obviously NOT in Song of Songs as Driscoll expounds it because in it he sees only wifely stripteases and holy blowjobs. Driscoll’s understanding of how a pastor should speak to the Bride is as a Hosea or an Elijah telling Israel she’s a whore. Or an apostle telling the Corinthians they should be ashamed of themselves. In other words, at the risk of stretching the metaphors a bit, Driscoll is fine with the Hosea who says God “will” speak tenderly to His people but can’t accept that Song of Songs could be where God DOES speak tenderly to the Bride of His people.
SOS part 4b
By now the massive audio library of sermons at Mars Hill Church demonstrates that Driscoll has absolutely no problem at all invoking the biblical metaphor of husband and wife when it deals with the ancient near-Eastern AUTHORITY STRUCTURE within marriage. He can accept the part where the Groom dies for the Bride. He can accept the part, certainly, where the Bride must submit to the Groom, not least in his various teachings on male headship and the authority of church leaders. He’s got problems if that conjugal metaphor ever breaks the bonds of propriety, service, and obligation to take on an element of ecstatic, self-forgetting admiration for the other. Driscoll may think he's secured himself from imagining a Jesus who wants to sexually penetrate him, but he may have done so at the expense of allowing the canonical comprehensiveness of the conjugal metaphor to have it's Spirit-inspired way. Christ choosing to die for the Bride on the Cross expresses a love that has no sense of discretion or restraint. The love of Christ for the Church was so strong he embraced the Cross, scorning its shame, and He conquered death by death because of His love for us.
In Song of Songs we are told that love is as strong as death. We know what love that is most obviously and immediately talking about, even if we subscribe to an allegorical second meaning. We can see cases where an old spouse dies and the widow or widower dies within a year of that death. We all get that love is as strong as death in that way! But Christ’s love is stronger than death.
By rejecting a typological approach as even possible in Song of Songs what we may be seeing is that Driscoll has granted the high flown poetic hyperbole as being legitimate for erotic love but shudders at the thought that a comparably powerful, or even more powerful love animated Christ to go to the Cross for us. After all, Song of Songs CAN’T be pointing us to Jesus now that Driscoll has established it’s about techniques and positions. It CAN'T be about Christ's love for the Church because Driscoll interprets that as Jesus preparing to have homosexual intercourse with him.
For a man who has said "It's all about Jesus" he sure seems to have managed to transform his teaching about Song of Songs into a kind of "It's all about Driscoll" hermeneutic. As I said at the beginning, Driscoll must know Jesus said there would be no marriage in Heaven. Why would Driscoll even think a joke of this sort would even make sense? Those who interpret Song of Songs typologically aren't imagining genital penetration are they?
Well, to the degree that anyone can begin to guess at an explanation, let me refer to Driscoll's 1999 sermons on Song of Songs. Driscoll has been steadfast in revisiting this material. Driscoll's persistent introduction to Song of Songs includes his speculative fantasy that Solomon and Abishag were sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. This is fanciful nonsense. Solomon’s first wife mentioned in scripture was an Egyptian and that was, as scholars such as Iain Provan pointed out, a foreboding of how bad things would go in Solomon’s reign where faithfulness to the Lord was concerned.
Iain Provan and V. Phillips Long, both of whom contributed work to the study notes in the ESV translation, have addressed Solomon's accession in ways that show the Abishag fantasy to be particularly silly. Provan, in his commentary on 1 & 2 Kings, notes that Abishag was chosen to assist David because he had trouble keeping warm at night. Abishag’s presence in the court highlights what ends up being a story, at every level, of royal impotence (of every kind) in David’s final years. The narrative thread from “could not keep warm” to “did not know her sexually” to Adonijah deciding he had a shot at the throne is strongly implied in the narrative.
Provan and Long have both broached what Driscoll avoids–rumors of David's sexual impotence were taken as a sign of administrative impotence and failing health. At this Adonijah, like his brother Absalom, sees in his father's weakness a shot at the throne. Nathan and Bathsheba get wind of this and trick David into formally appointing Solomon as his successor both to save Solomon's life and to perform an end-run around Adonijah.
The idea that Solomon killed Adonijah because he was in love with Abishag himself is pure fantasy. Absalom (under Ahithophel's counsel) took some of David’s concubines and had sex with them in public both to shame his father and show that he was made of kingly stuff at the crudest level. By this time in Israel there was a precedent that if you took any woman who belonged to the king you were making yourself known as a claimant to the throne. Solomon didn’t have his brother killed because he and his father’s servant girl were carving their names in some nearby tree. It was a bluntly political gesture. Solomon knew his brothers had habits of forming insurrections to get power or were rapists. If he didn’t put his foot down in the sternest and most irreversible way possible he’d lose the kingdom and it would divide.
But in Driscoll’s make-believe Song of Songs Abishag is the peasant princess who won the heart of the king. Why? It's a fantasy he seems to have come up with back in 1999 when he first started reading, studying, and teaching Song of Songs. As he put it in his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Driscoll was very unhappy with his marriage and particularly the state of his sex life at that point in his life. He thought he'd go through Song of Songs and see if it could improve his marriage. He went into the book with an agenda that colored his approach. Now, it seems, Driscoll can't disengage from his love affair with Song of Songs as the canonized sex manual that fixed what he wasn't happy with in his marriage. Driscoll's hermeneutic of erotica toward Song of Songs is such a treasure to him he can't see that what it has done to his view of a biblical book is transform that book's message within the canon. Instead of "It's all about Jesus!" it must now be "It CAN'T BE about Jesus!" Yet the Lord’s words in Luke 24:25-27 and in John 5:39-47 aren’t going anywhere and must be accounted for, even when we’re discussing Song of Songs. I propose, in Driscollian parlance, that this is the Big E on the eye chart that has been missed for a decade not only by Driscoll's critics and fans but by Driscoll himself."
Tune in tomorrow to read about the bizarre goings on at SGM. Is a break up in play? Oh, and in keeping with our Driscoll porn theme, did you know that reading our blog is "worse than reading porn?" Larry Flynt, move over, there is a new game in town!! More tomorrow!
Lydia's Corner: Ezra 7:1-8:20 1Corinthians 4:1-21 Psalm 30:1-12 Proverbs 20:28-30