"I see things"-Mark Driscoll
Naked Pastor link
I grew up in a nonChristian home so I have no recollection of the story of Esther from my childhood. I remember reading it shortly after my conversion and found it to be an amazing story of God’s provision and Esther’s strength.
However, one of the greatest Sunday school lessons I ever attended was presented by my friend who, with great flourish, recounts the story in the book of Esther, which he called “The Whole Megillah.” Devout Jews also do this every year at Purim in remembrance of these events. Although, traditionally, everyone is supposed to drink to the point of getting drunk, our rather conservative group decided to just stick to the boos and hisses at the mention of Haman’s name and raucous cheering at the mention of Esther. (Memo to friend who is reading this: I still think I am right on the Nephilim issue).
Megillah means “in Yiddish -a long boring tediously detailed account – a long involved story and in “Judaism- the scroll of parchment that contains the biblical story of Esther; traditionally read in synagogues to celebrate Purim. " Link
Recently, Mark Driscoll weighed in on the Esther situation. He is becoming painfully predictable. His name is increasingly synonymous with sex, in a negative fashion. This time, couched in his promise of prayer and study, he has determined Esther to be a whore. Yep, that Esther, the one who was made a sex slave of a king and, in spite of her painful circumstance, risked her life to save her people.
Before I begin, I once again ask, “Where are Driscoll’s advisors hiding?” This man has issues and it is readily apparent to a whole boat-load of observers. When he starts perverting Scripture to buttress his rather pathetic views on sex and women, it is time for the adults and medical professionals to weigh in. They must be too busy attending cage fights and drinking micro brews.
Esther and Purim
For those who do not know the story of Esther, please refer to this synopsis found on the About Judaism website. Link
"This book of the Old Testament spurred the festival of Purim. From the above link we learn that Purim: “A festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar. Purim is so-called because the villain of the story, Haman, cast the "pur" (the lot) against the Jews yet failed to destroy them.”
It “is the story of a young Jewish heroine called Hadassah meaning ‘myrtle and who became the Queen of the Persia because of an intra-court intrigue and in order to hide her Jewish identity was given a new Persian name, Esther meaning ‘star.’”
One note: King Xerxes is the same person as King Ahasuerus.
Mark Driscoll’s ludicrous statement on Esther link
““She grows up in a very lukewarm religious home as an orphan raised by her cousin. Beautiful, she allows men to tend to her needs and make her decisions. Her behavior is sinful and she spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity with the pagan king like hundreds of other women. She performs so well that he chooses her as his favorite. Today, her story would be, a beautiful young woman living in a major city allows men to cater to her needs, undergoes lots of beauty treatment to look her best, and lands a really rich guy whom she meets on The Bachelor and wows with an amazing night in bed. She’s simply a person without any character until her own neck is on the line, and then we see her rise up to save the life of her people when she is converted to a real faith in God.”
“Esther has been grossly misinterpreted.” (Mark , of course, will interpret it correctly)
“Feminists have tried to cast Esther’s life as a tragic tale of male domination and female liberation. Many evangelicals have ignored her sexual sin and godless behavior to make her into a Daniel-like figure, which is inaccurate. Some have even tried to tie her story in with modern-day, sex-slave trafficking as she was brought before the powerful king as part of his harem.”
“ What’s the truth? We will see, as I’m still studying and praying.”
Where did Driscoll get these ideas?
I have spent some time looking through various theology texts to see if I could find something comparable. I finally found one source which might buttress Driscoll’s weird analysis in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, 1985.
P.699 Isaiah and Jeremiah had told the Jewish people to come out of Babylon (the Persian Empire) and return to Palestine to rebuild the Temple and set up the sacrificial system. Apparently, Mordecai and Esther did not leave, along with others.
P.704 Here is where it gets interesting. The authors claim that Mordecai and Esther were not living according to the Law. They jump to Esther whom they claim sinned by marrying a pagan and having sexual relations with a man who was not her husband. She apparently also ate unclean food. The authors indicate she should have been like Daniel and refused to do this.
I deeply disagree with their “trajectory” and believe that it could serve to transform an heroic Esther into Driscoll’s slutty queen. For well regarded seminary professors, they have sadly overlooked the implications of their analysis for victims of rape and coercion. I will deal with this shortly
Here are a few thoughts from the blog The Paper Thin Hymn link.
- “Without any action of the King, Esther would not have been in the position she was in. Rather, because she was a beautiful virgin with a beautiful figure, probably between the ages of 13-16 years old, she was “sought”, “gathered” and “taken” by the Kings officers and put into the palace under the custody of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. “
- “From a historical perspective, women did not have a choice in the matter, and there was no right of refusal. The king took what the king wanted, and there was nothing she could have done about it, and would probably have had herself and Mordecai executed if she refused.”
- “Esther is taken into the harem where she would spend the next year going through an intense beauty regiment. She did not have a choice in this matter”
- “After a night with the King, he would typically not call on her again. She was not free to go home, or back where she came from- to her family and loved ones, but would be relegated to a different harem, where the women who were “used” went, and would have to remain there for the rest of her life unless the king called on her again.”
The despicable, unbiblical view of coercion, rape, and the worth of a woman’s life
Driscoll and the quoted authors seem to imply that Esther had some control over her situation and that she should have stopped the whole thing. Could they be insinuating that she should have fought the soldiers who came for her and died, rather than be taken into custody to have sex with the king?
In blessedly bygone days, during court trials involving a raped woman, the defense attorneys of a rapist would try to establish that the woman wanted to be raped. They would “prove” that she had no defensive wounds on her, intimating that she should have fought to the death to maintain her honor.
Today, we would never blame a woman, let alone a young teen, who, while held at knife point, was raped. Yet, that is precisely what these authors and Driscoll appear to be advocating. This is sick and shows a low view of the life of a woman. It also overlooks, or negates, the hideous problem of sex slavery. (A topic that I want to write about in the near future).
Finally, do these men realize that, had Esther fought to the death to defend her virginity, she would not be in place to save her people? What a hill to die on!
God is not mentioned in the book of Esther but God was, and is, clearly recognized by Jewish people.
God is absolutely present in Esther and the people of Israel, who knew their Scriptures, would easily recognize it. God told His people that, one day, such an encounter would happen.
It is we who have the problem of not seeing God in Esther because we do not know our Old Testament very well. Here is a synopsis of the background from Bible Searchers link.
Haman was an Amalekite also known as an Agagite. This was a race of people God told King Saul to destroy because they were a nation utterly bent on destroying the Israel. Instead, Saul disobeyed and allowed their king, Agag to live and even brought him back to Israel as Saul’s prisoner.
“If King Agag had been killed by King Saul , Haman the Agagite would never have lived and the story of Esther may not have been written. The actions of one king of Israel may have cost the annihilation of the Jewish race, except that it was not God’s will.”
Deuteronomy 25:17-19 – “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear rank, all the stragglers at your rear, when all you were tired and weary: and he did not fear God.
Therefore it shall be when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.”
God had destined Esther to pick up the pieces for King Saul. That’s right. He sent a woman to do what a man didn’t! She was the fulfillment of the promise in Deuteronomy that a battle would, once again. be fought with the Amalekites and this time, the Jewish people would prevail.
An analysis of Driscoll’s contemptible statement
1.”Beautiful, she allows men to tend to her needs and make her decisions.”
Driscoll shows an abysmal lack of understanding about the role of women in this culture. She did not “allow” men to make decisions for her; she was forced to do so. She would be forced to do so if she was beautiful or ugly.
2. “She spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity with the pagan king like hundreds of other women.”
Let’s get something straight. Being taken to a harem by a bunch of the kings’ men is not a day at the spa. This was about one thing for everyone involved and that was making the king happy. If the king wasn't happy, everyone involved would die. She had ZERO right of refusal unless she wanted a straight ticket to eternity.
3.”She performs so well that he chooses her as his favorite.”
Once again, Driscoll demonstrates his unremitting fixation with sex. He assumes that she was some sort of sex machine that serviced the king in such a way that he made her his queen. How does he know that? Could Esther have been kind, thoughtful, smart, or humorous? I guess it doesn’t matter because, in Driscoll’s world, it all boils down to sex. So that was, is and ever more shall be, his final answer.
4. “Today, her story would be, a beautiful young woman living in a major city allows men to cater to her needs, undergoes lots of beauty treatment to look her best, and lands a really rich guy whom she meets on The Bachelor.”
Driscoll’s attempt to bring this into a modern context shows a bizarre reinterpretation of the historical nature of that culture. Did he ever take a history course? If he did, I want the name of his professor. Today’s reality shows are based on freedom of choice. One does not have to be Kim Kardashian, although Deb comes pretty close. (Let's see if she is reading this). But, from what I have read about Driscoll’s needs, his wife better be on her "A" game or another book will be forthcoming, bless her heart.
5. “She’s simply a person without any character until her own neck is on the line, and then we see her rise up to save the life of her people when she is converted to a real faith in God.”
How does he know that she lacks character? Character is revealed, not when things are going well, but when things are going dreadfully wrong. In fact, from my observations of Driscoll, he needs to spend some time in study and prayer on the issue of character. Mark Driscoll is certainly no Esther when it comes to this virtue.
Secondly, did anyone read any verses in Esther about her conversion? How does he know she didn’t have a real faith in God? When it came time to save her people, she requested that the Jews fast for three days. Fasting is one of those biblical things, last time I checked. So, did she just get lucky and guess that they should fast or was she just a quick study?
6. “Some have even tried to tie her story in with modern-day, sex-slave trafficking as she was brought before the powerful king as part of his harem.”
Now, I am really irritated. This is sex slavery in all of its debauchery and pain. Yes, Mark, this is the real thing.
7.“ What’s the truth? We will see, as I’m still studying and praying.”
Driscoll has already demonstrated that he does not have a basic understanding of Jewish history or the issues surrounding slavery or rape. Frankly, the average church attendee could probably approach the truth of this book more accurately than this apparently sex obsessed “pastor.”
A Bit of Humor
One of the funnier comments I found on this sad example of Driscoll’s Biblical exposition is the following. The author at Kludt said that he had some points of agreement with Driscoll. Here is how he presented it.
[Esther] grows up
in a very lukewarm religious homeas an orphan raised by her uncle. Beautiful, she allows men to tend to her needs and make her decisions. Her behavior is sinful and she spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity withthe paganking like hundreds of other women. She performs so well that hechooses her as his favorite. Today, her story would be, a beautiful young woman living in a major city allows men to cater to her needs, undergoes lots of beauty treatment to look her best, and lands a really rich guy whom she meets on The Bachelor and wows with an amazing night in bed.She’s simplya person with out anycharacter until her own neck ison the line, and thenwe see her rise up to save the life of her people when she is converted to a real faith in God.
Driscoll may be equivocating.
At Christ and Pop Culture link we learn the following.
"Thanks to the flurry of conversation, Mark Driscoll had this to say after his original post came out,"
“I have been researching a lot and have a lot of work left to do so any prayers are appreciated. I want to also sincerely thank my critics. They have brought to light some great insights that have further aided my studies and really got me thinking. I’m grateful to receive them before I preach the book as it helps me prepare. When I started the study of Esther and launched the brief blog post to get the buzz going, I leaned toward view #3 but now I’m reconsidering that and reevaluating some research.”
I have one comment-What research???? Is he having another one of those “prophetic pornovisions” in which he "sees things"? Link
A few final comments
Mara, at the Bitter Waters to Sweet blog link, had this to say:
“I was disappointed but not surprised to see Mark Driscoll whorify Esther. It is true, he believes that women ARE whores.He twists the Song of Solomon past the point of breaking to make women their husbands’ personal whores. And in their book, Real Marriage, Mark makes his wife, Grace, bear the load of guilt for the problems in their marriage while he slides through and uses the Songs to turn himself into a hero, a savior.Now Mark believes that he gets to decide that Esther is a whore, that SHE is the problem, rather than the pagan king who basically owns her and her exiled people.Way to go, Mark. Way to wrongly divide the Word of truth based on the darkness of your own perversions and insecurities… again.”
David at Naked Pastor link
I found Naked Pastor’s (David) response to a commenter right on the money
“Sorry David, I think you stretch a little too far here. Mark Driscoll is not my ideal pastor or Christian leader by a long shot. Not even in the ballpark. But, I’ve looked at the trailer and read what he has written about this series and I just am not yet reading it as negatively as you apparently are doing. I truly think that you are taking his remarks (that you lifted and reprinted) out of context Driscoll).
Naked Pastor responds:
“Hi Samuel. Ya, we can wait and see. But it is interesting to me that Mark Driscoll can NEVER be quoted. Have you noticed that? When one quotes him to critique him, one is always accused of taking it out of context. He should be more careful about what he says if he really doesn’t believe it.”
I agree with David. Driscoll has a whole contingent of apologizers, from seminary presidents to his “flock”, who spend in inordinate amount of time trying to explain away the multitude of Driscoll’s outlandish statements.
I believe that something is seriously wrong with Driscoll. We, along with many others, have documented his sermons, “pornovisions”, and statements ad nauseum. He has stepped away from Acts 29, quit the Gospel Coalition and is placing himself in a position to be answerable to no one but his remarkably silent “leadership,” pastor pals and seminary presidents.
Driscoll has not improved. If anything he is descending into peculiar territory. His friends and speaking circuit buddies clearly demonstrate the utter inability of the evangelical church to monitor and admonish one of their own. The Internet Monk had it right. We are living in a post-evangelical wilderness in which everyone is doing his own thing, including the back slapping cadre of the Calvinistas.
I believe there is a fall coming and I am sure some “leaders” will say, ‘But we didn’t know.” Well, they do and they refuse to do anything about it. Don’t worry, we will remind them in our “game over” analysis.
I leave you with a video recommended by Hester, a TWW reader. This viral video (over 10 million hits) contends that all songs are based on Pachelbel's famous Canon in D. It kinda reminds me of Driscoll who finds sex in everything he "studies."
Lydia’s Corner: Exodus 15:19-17:7 Matthew 22:1-33 Psalm 27:1-6 Proverbs 6:20-26