Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Humour versus Holy Spirit ...

So Mark Driscoll is coming to Brighton next July. I've always been aware of Mark Driscoll's presence but have never really devoted significant time to listening to him in depth. However the Brighton conference has contributed so much to my life so any visiting speaker there demands attention. My senior pastor Dr Stanley Jebb once said;

"The unexamined opinion is hardly worth holding".

So since I read Terry's announcement, I have spent some time listening to Mark Driscoll's sermons in order to examine him and what he teaches and how he does it so that my opinion is not merely a reaction but one worthy of holding. I must admit from the start I am somewhat disturbed. For the last two years Brighton was blessed by the visit of Rob Rufus as a guest speaker and we looked forward to his ministry which was devoted to the Presence of God. But this time it seems that Mark Driscoll has a different contribution to make (by the way I wanted to post this as a comment on Mark's website but he has disabled comments on that particular blog post at present);

"I listen to most of his weekly sermons, but it will be great to get a chance to hear him live and in person, and doubtless he will stir up some controversy for us to blog about!"

For starters I find that somewhat sad. One year - we anticipate the Presence of God accompanied by signs and wonders even if we don't agree with it or quite like the methods. The next year ... controversy? Why is Mark Driscoll so controversial? I was about to find out. One must admit for starters that Mark Driscoll is a passionate man with a heart for "missions" (whatever definition of that he holds to). I listened to a video clip of Driscoll's that was posted on You-Tube regarding missions. Here's what he had to say;

“This is particularly important for young men. The least likely person to go to church in the United States of America is a young man in his twenties. These are guys who have made a wreck of everything. They are banging their girlfriends – these are men who have blown all their money, staying up all night playing World-war craft and finding free porn on the internet, trying to find out how to get bigger subwoofers into their retarded car. Those are the guys who must first be gathered, they must have a swift boot in the rear, they need a good run through boot camp, they need to be told that Jesus Christ is not a gay hippie in a dress

60% of all Christians are women. I am glad that the ladies love Jesus but if you want to win a war you have got to get the men and once you get the men you must know what to do with them. They want to know how to get married. They want to know how to have sex with their wives at least once a day, how to have children, how to father their sons ..

His first priority is to gather men and by God’s grace force them to become the kind of men needed for God’s kingdom. The mission is to get the men because if you get the men then you win the war".

Anyone cannot deny surely that it is good for Driscoll to have a heart for seeing young men return to the Church and to the Father heart of God. But return to what? What vision of manhood does Driscoll really want these men returning to? Fortunately he doesn't leave us wondering;

"You get around Paul when he was a young guy or John the Baptist or Elijah. I mean these guys seemed pretty rough to me. They don't look like church boys wearing sweater vests walking around singing love songs to Jesus.

Guys like David are well known for their ability to slaughter other men. I think these guys were dudes you know. Heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes and the problem in the church today is that it's just a bunch of nice, soft, tender, womified church boys. 60% of Christians are chicks and 40% are dudes that are just chicks. It's just sad".

It seems to me that Mark Driscoll is seeking after raising a generation of what he would call "real" men. I really don't seen ANY Biblical backing for despising the kind of men who sing "love songs to Jesus" and I certainly don't see ANY Biblical backing for setting a role model of manhood as; "heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes". Ah but are these isolated video clips taken out of context?

Well I discovered a blog in these last few weeks entitled; "The Rise and Fall of Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)" and it is set up by some ex-members who have been quite greviously hurt by the authoritarian structures of the church and how it is run. They had some interesting quotes from a Seattle newspaper detailing the public sacking of two of the elders who didn't agree with Driscoll on some matters. The newspaper wrote this;

"Things got even uglier in a September 30 sermon, when Driscoll—who’s been the face of the church since it was first established in 1996—stated, sternly referencing the two dissidents, that “There are a few guys right now, if I wasn’t going to end up on CNN, I would go Old Testament on ’em. There’s no, like, attorneys and blogging, just like I punched you in the mouth, now shut up. That’s clean; it’s simple.”

Driscoll's view on manhood seems to be quite far ranging across many different cultural issues. For example, he responded to and reacted to the Ted Haggard moral issue by writing on his blog;


Let me first make it clear that Mark Driscoll protested he was NOT suggesting that it was Mrs Haggards fault in "letting herself go" that led to Ted Haggard falling morally. Rather;


I admit freely I am struggling to keep a tight reign on expressing what I really think about Mark Driscoll's views (because it's not very polite) but I am sure it won't take much imagination to guess. Rather than wasting hour after hour marching through Mark Driscoll's blog trying to find out why he is as he is - I am more interested as to why he is such a contemporary hit at present.

Maybe it is because he makes himself available to his public? After all almost 350, 000 have voted in his "Ask Anything" campaign for his series in January at Mars Hill. What do Mark Driscoll's public want to know from him I wonder? Some of the questions are quite orthodox and standard but others are more ... different;

"Why do you make jokes about mormon missionaries, homosexuals, trenchcoats wearers, single men, vegans, emo kids and then expect these groups to come to know God in the same sermon?".

Ah humour. Could that be the reason as to why Mark Driscoll is a modern hit at present - similar to his informal "father" - C J Mahaney? Can it really be as shallow as all that? We like him because he makes us laugh? We like his preaching because he uses risque words in his sermons to shake us out of our apathy? Humour? Or maybe it is Mark Driscoll's apparant numerical success? He himself stated; "As the pastor of a church of nearly 5000 in one of America’s least churched cities ...". Yes the numbers game.

There's nothing wrong with humour per se or a big church to be sure. Like anyone - I enjoy a good laugh (or as Terry Virgo put it; "Tis the Season to Be Jolly"). Even more so, I listened to Rob Rufus teaching about the need to be "child-like". That includes laughing AND crying! But can I suggest something;

Humour has become the modern-day "doves dung" now that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is in such scarce supply in certain places, churches, nations and people.

Let me state again - some of my favourite preachers and teachers of all time have been absolutely side-splitting in some of their messages. Ern Baxter was one of the funniest men ever heard in the United Kingdom in the 1970's as was Bob Mumford. But they combined their humour with the anointing of God. They knew when it was right to be humerous and they knew when it was right to preach with the unveiled and ungloved manifest Presence of God. But they also knew when it was right to be silent in the Presence and glory of God and stop speaking.

And numbers? Is there anything wrong with a big full church? Of course not. But Rob Rufus spoke of God's promise to him;

"The numbers thing is an ego thing for pastors. When numbers are down we feel all insecure, when they are up we feel all flattered in our ego. They don’t care if people are walking with God or not – if there are bums on seats we feel happy! The purpose for church is not to have as many bums on seats as possible, but the purpose for church is to have people equipped with God, full of God, know the realms of the glory, know the Voice of God and do the works of God in supernatural signs and wonders! Otherwise people are just there to flatter the pastor".

In short;


So again I am neither against humour (although Mark Driscoll's border-line risque humour doesn't really make me laugh much) or against large churches - I still feel that these are poor substitutes for the Presence and power and glory of God. We are settling for poor relatives simply because our experience is so shallow in seeing God Himself come down.

Much of Mark Driscoll's success is attributed to apparant non-Christians coming into his church and being attracted to the kind of Gospel he preaches. I find it interesting that Rob Rufus reported that non-Christians seem to be interested in a different kind of preaching of the Gospel;

You know the George Barnea Research went to thousands of non-Christians in America and said, “What would make you go to church?”. They said, “If we could experience God!”. Then they said to pastors that this is the number one thing people are asking for. The pastors got all indignant and said, “We talk about God every Sunday!”. But we are not talking about academic information about God but God Himself coming!".

I am not trying to set Rob Rufus against Mark Driscoll - for both are servants of God, both with a passion to see the Gospel spread across the world and both (I hope) with a desire to see the glory of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This is more questioning whether Rob Rufus has to be balanced by Mark Driscoll. Terry himself wrote;


But I didn't come away from Together on a Mission feeling that Rob Rufus was talking about "partnership". Partnership seems to imply "equality". Rob on the other hand was preaching in his three main sessions about an ultimate desire - an ultimate end - an ultimate goal! The glory-cloud! The manifest Presence of God come down amongst His people! I wrote that I have never before felt such a weighty Presence of the Spirit of God in that conference than ever before. In the video release just after the conference, Terry himself seemed to reflect that feeling. He said;

"What a great and memorable week. It has really been one of the most glorious weeks we have ever had ... feeling His Presence in such an intense way ...".

Word AND/OR Spirit?

I am not quite sure why; "It seems very good to me, therefore, having had Rob with us for the last two years, now to welcome Mark Driscoll whose emphasis on the Word of God will do us enormous good". That seems to me to suggest that Rob Rufus didn't have quite as great an emphasis on the Word of God as Mark Driscoll apparantly does. I couldn't agree less with that.

I have sat under so-called "Word teachers" for most of my church life. My first senior pastor was a doctor of theology and knew the Word of God inside out and back to front. My second church in Bristol emphasised that they taught and believed in the Word of God first and foremost. Yet I have learnt more truths and revelations from the Word of God under sermons from men like Rob Rufus, Ern Baxter and others than ever before (take this Q and A session with Rob Rufus as an example). And these are so-called "Spirit men"! - I guess by that definition!

Surely the whole emphasis of "Word and Spirit" is not that one year we pay attention to "Spirit" and the next "Word" like some glorified scale, but that we aim to unite both aspects - both gifts of God - in our teaching, our preaching, our churches, our conferences, our lives.

I am not suggesting that we have nothing to learn from purely men of Reformed traditions, cessationists and other men. God is so awesomely gracious and has so much to bestow and give lavishly to His glorious Bride. I would be scared to miss out on any revelation, any truth by stating I will not receive teaching from a man of God. But the "Glory and Grace" truth - the fact that the grace of God was designed before time began to lead us into His Presence, His MANIFEST Presence - isn't a truth that can sit on the shelf and wait for a year.

So ... Brighton?

I know the immediate question will be; "So you aren't going to Brighton then?". Well I didn't say that and I am not going to say that ... yet. Maybe in past years I would have declared that this would have meant that I wouldn't waste my money. But I have trusted Terry Virgo for some years now and I am intrigued to see what other speakers he will invite to Brighton and what themes, what Training Tracks will be planned. It may be (and I desperately hope it will) that these vital themes of the glory and Presence of God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, signs of the Kingdom such as healing and signs and wonders and miracles will be taught on at Brighton.

If that's the case then that's encouraging.

But one thing is for sure - Mark Driscoll's presence at Brighton won't guarantee I will be there. I am sure he is very humerous and I am sure he is very macho heterosexual, punch-you-in-the-mouth. But I don't need to sit in a conference for a week in Brighton having booked time off work and money to pay for it to meet someone like that. You can meet people like that down the pub.

62 comments:

jul said...

I'm feeling a little sick and a little sad after reading that. I've just decided to go on a grace diet, I mean, seeing if grace can really be applied to the way I eat and my self image. It's the final frontier in some ways for me, if grace can change my obsessions with how I look I'll know for sure it's powerful. I don't know if men can understand the pressure on women to look and act a certain way, ultimately always to gain approval from some man somewhere, even if he is hypothetical. I almost started to cry reading what he says about wives "letting themselves go" (which is in my opinion a sign that they are not absolutely loved and valued by their husbands) because I felt the heavy heavy weight that his own wife must live under. I've heard him many times allude to the fact that his wife is 'hot' and that's why he doesn't (yeah right) struggle with lust. Well what happens if she gets sick or God forbid gets old and isn't 'hot' anymore? Will he then be allowed to go off into any sexual sin without responsibility because it's his wife's fault? And sex once a day? These kinds of rules and regulations and obligations put so much pressure on married people and they take all the joy out of sex. Trust me, I know. In SGM we had endless women's meetings telling us we had to have sex with our husbands no matter what whenever he wanted however etc...turning sex into a duty (like anything else) drains the enjoyment out of it. It turns a woman into some kind of sex slave and degrades her true value.These kinds of 'men' are almost singhandedly responsible for the existence of the feminist movement they so hate. Do these men honestly not understand that women were made in the image of God too?

And let's not forget that David is slightly more famous for writing songs with a harp than for slaughtering people...

Scott Stringer said...

Absolutely well put Jul, it's apparent that you put so much passion into that comment.
These men (and women judging by your SGM experience), need to learn that what they say will have a profoundly different affect on various different people.

I honestly can't believe that people still talk like this, not since the Suffragette/ Suffragists and Feminists Movements of the 20th Century...Women are not slaves, sexual or otherwise.
Not being married myself, I have no expectations of women and/or how men and women should conduct themselves together...I am actually really pleased about that !! I do not get bogged down with stupid legalism like this.

And well done Dan for a great post that was researced and argued well.
I know you don't like to put men on pedastals, but I also know how much men like Ern Baxter and Rob Rufus mean to you. They are men who truly bring both Word and Spirit, and do not sacrifice one for the other, for that's how it was 2000 years ago in the Book of Acts.

Dan Bowen said...

I'm really sorry that those comments upset you Julie - I can't express how much they upset me too. My family often call me a feminist jokingly but it's true. Nothing bothers me more than the oppression and the abuse (subtle or blatent as here) of women. Women were THE most precious gift created by God for men to be their help-meets, their partners, their best friends, their lovers and I have seen far too many women who have been ignored, put down, belittled and it frankly makes me sick.

I've heard the verse from Ephesians quoted by men like it's their daily memory verse about "wives submit to your husbands" ... but no one seems to want to talk about the other half of that verse ... "Husbands love your wives AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH". That's a far bigger responsibility to me than the wives. Where are the husbands who will lay down their lives for their wives DAILY?

"I don't know if men can understand the pressure on women to look and act a certain way, ultimately always to gain approval from some man somewhere".

I do agree with you there, but I hope you will believe me when I say I do understand somewhat and maybe it's because God hasn't allowed me to get married and (God forbid) fall into the same role model as some of these men are setting.

I've been vigorously applying the message of grace to my eating and to my self-image too. While I wouldn't like to have called it a full blown eating disorder, I lost about 2 stone when I was in SGM because I hated myself so much and am horrified when I look back and see my scrawny face. But I felt good! I felt like I had control.

Even now I have to re-hear God tell me that it is okay to enjoy a McDonald's Mcmuffin breakfast!! ;)

I'm not ashamed to admit that I am crying as I type this for all the hurting and broken wives and women in these kind of churches who are secretly broken on the inside and I believe it is the tears of the Father.

"In SGM we had endless women's meetings telling us we had to have sex with our husbands no matter what whenever he wanted however etc...turning sex into a duty (like anything else) drains the enjoyment out of it"

?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?

Words fail me. What makes me cry even more is that I've still got five sisters and my mum still under the authority of these people. The thought that my young teenage sisters are going to grow up into this and potentially suffer this.

Well I'm stating here and now that I will make it my mission to bombard my family with the grace message that Rob brings until they HAVE to listen to it! ;)

But isn't it ironic that C J Mahaney takes Song of Solomon and teaches it is exclusively a sex manual - how can this legalistic, "once a day" thing be imposed from that?! As you all know I believe Song of Solomon is primarily a love manual between Christ and His Church - speaking of the passion and the love and intimacy God has for His Bride.

Maybe if that theological error was corrected, and that these people could plug into the true passion God has for His Bride, then maybe this awful mistreatment of sex ... something that is primarily meant to be FUN and and an expression of intimacy! .... would be corrected.

"These kinds of 'men' are almost singhandedly responsible for the existence of the feminist movement they so hate".

I think you have prophetically put your finger on the EXACT issue Julie. I've felt that for ages since reading Wayne Grudem's endless list of books. If he would devote his considerable skills to teaching his "men" - these so-called heterosexual, punch-you-in-the-mouth men who can't plug into their emotions how to treat their wives properly and with some respect, then maybe the fire would go out of the feminist movement.

I'm so sorry if I brought you any upset Julie ... you know I love you and Aaron and care for you but I felt so prompted to make it quite abundantly clear why I just cannot stomach this kind of teaching.

May 2008 see it die a death, and may 2008 see the tidal wave of the Spirit of God bring a refreshing torrent of grace that sets women free to be the beautiful, gorgeous, loved people they are meant to be and that we see men set free to not be afraid to cry or to sing love songs of intimacy to Jesus ("Draw Me Close to You" is a good start!!) and begin to treat those wives that God has given them with some true Christ-like LOVE.

PS: Thanks for your comment Scott, you sat and witnessed my anger and upset at how Mark Driscoll spoke about women so you know how I felt about this! Thanks for calming me down! ;)

a tired, sad SGM pastors wife said...

Julie and dan ... thanks so much for your willingness to be unpopular to speak out these truths. i must confess that since I last left a few comments, I have bowed my head and allowed myself to come back under the mantle of oppression and "accountability" and believe it is okay and "right" and "humble".

Thank you for this post. My heart has been breaking this Christmas as I see another year pass where we have trumpted "grace" and "freedom in the Cross" and yet I feel so trapped. Yes julie and dan I totally agree with your comments about eating as a form of control.

*sighs and smiles* - its a lot easier to not eat anything when you are the "hostess" and you are being given "evidences of grace" by your guests for your cooking.

You've given me a degree of hope again. Please please please do limit yourself to this grace message - please preach, and teach, and blog or whatever you call it just grace and PURELY grace because it is like manna to my hungry dry barren old soul here.

May god bless you this xmas 2007.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks so much for this comment SGM pastors wife ... I know the thumping dread of fear when you leave a comment and wonder about the consequences. Will I be found out? Will anyone shout at me or tell me off? Well I think you are really brave for starters!

And you like Julie, set me off crying again because I do feel your pain and your heartache - and please know I am speaking the truth - when I say I haven't forgotten about you in the months since you last commented. I have thought about you much and wondered about how you are. Even though we don't know who you are (and that is OKAY by the way!) the Holy Spirit does and my prayer for you this Christmas is that He draws alongside you in the tender, loving way that only He can and brings the Father's love, intimacy and passion washing over you and that you cry tears of joy because you know that you are loved on high.

I am sure Julie will agree with me that we do of course promise to do what you ask. The grace message Rob Rufus has brought has changed my life and Julie's as well I know! How can we divert to anything else?!

BTW; I know that you are severely limited on what you can do, who you can email and what you can look at on the net but I do want to take the liberty of giving you a couple of suggestions that may be helpful to you.

1. Listen to Rob Rufus's messages if you can. Here's the link;

http://www.citychurchinternational.net/index2.html

2. A new website has been set up in the past few months that is excellent, and you will find that you are not alone there. Even if you can't comment, you may find it helpful to read what some of the women are writing there;

http://sguncensored.wordpress.com/

3. If you could, I think you would benefit hugely from emailing and speaking to Julie or some of the other wonderful women that are seeing and teaching the message of grace. I know they wouldn't mind - Julie especially! I know that is a huge thing and no-one will think bad of you if you don't.

But I just want you to know this Christmas that you aren't alone and you aren't "just" a cook, or whatever else you have been told. You are a beloved, beautiful, treasured woman of God and when God the Father looks down from heaven at you, He weeps with you and feels a rush of excitement when you lift your heart to Him.

May He make His manifest Presence and love known to you today. Thanks again for writing. You will be in my prayers so much.

James B said...

Like Julie I am feeling sick and sad but I am feeling it because I don't think we men have ever realised (or if we do, we don't care) about how our actions and how our attitudes affect women. I found these quotes of Driscoll quite sicknening and I can't believe he speaks so publicly about his wife. I am so saddened and can't believe this is all to get in with the "hip" crowd.

Let us all commit in 2008 to begin to make differences of our own - to preach, teach, live grace - TRUE grace!! To become instruments, to become "Lightening Rods" of the intimacy and grace and wonderful love of God to the needy. After all - isn't that what Jesus said?

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted ....".

Let's not tolerate this anymore! Only true grce and only grace is acceptable! Let the shackles of legalism fall away and never return! Like Pharoh's armies, let them drown in the Red Sea forever!

Oh and Happy Xmas to all!! :)

tired old sgm pastors wife again said...

thank you for your kindness dan - it was really encouraging to follow some of those links. I don't quite know when I can get to listen to Rob Rufus sermons which is why I will be depending on your Rob Rufus notes and blog quite a bit. I really couldn't express how much it meant to know that someone cares.

God bless you abudantly. and please keep going! dont give up publishing and blogging even if you think it's all pointless.

Dan Bowen said...

It's the least I can do sgm pastor's wife. I feel such a love in the Father's heart for you today this Christmas and I am not exaggerating that. One of the key qualities that the Holy Spirit brings upon those who receive Him is energy and it is my prayer that you would be able to come into a personal place - a personal relationship and encounter with the living God where you can feel His energising power sweep over you.

He will bring power to you to drop the mask of religion we hide behind so well. He will bring power to you to know your identity on high - that you are LOVED and that the opinion of others matters now. He will bring power to you to release your heart to cry out "Abba!".

That's my prayer for you for 2008.

Forgive me for talking like that - I keep thinking that you are possibly older and far more experienced than me, and I don't want at all to come across as cheeky. Please don't think that.

But I promise as long as the Holy Spirit keeps giving me things to blog, I will keep writing about them!!

Countless, countless richest blessings and love upon you.

jul said...

We love you SGM pastor's wife! I was on track to be an SGM pastor's wife and you can't believe the weight that lifted off me when I realized I never would have to be...I'll be praying for you and Dan is right if you ever need to talk to someone feel free to e-mail me (there's an email button on my blog), even send me your phone number and a time to call you and I would love to talk to you. I can be a good listener if nothing else...And if there's any way at all you can listen to Rob (mp3 player perhaps? you can pick them up for as low as 30$ now and download sermons on it and listen while you're doing just about anything) I think you would find it so encouraging. God bless you and merry Christmas!

Ellie said...

I am really struggling with ever being good enough. I lost alot of weight and that wasn't good enough. We are now out of SG and I feel a loss because of that... not that I was ever really accepted there. Too many problems in my family. Not good enough. I feel like that real me isn't there anymore. Well, maybe it is, but it's so tightly locked up and locked away that I don't know if it will ever see the light of day again. I've given up on pretty much everything. I wish I could stop crying.

Dan Bowen said...

Awww Ellie .... I cannot EXPRESS how deeply I feel for you. If I could do anything to help - I would. I really hope you know that. How deep can an relationship across the internet get, some scoffers may ask!? Well pretty deep if my feelings of upset and concern and love for those of you girls who have left comments today is anything to go by!

I feel so ashamed of the male gender at present.

Julie said in the first comment;

"I don't know if men can understand the pressure on women to look and act a certain way, ultimately always to gain approval from some man somewhere, even if he is hypothetical".

I don't know if men do either, and it so shames me that is the case.

Oh Ellie (and all the others) what can I do to help!?!?!?! I feel so helpless but so desperate to share your burdens.

I will offer you this Ellie, and any other women who are out there. If you will email me, I will get a copy of the "Grace and Glory Conference" CD's from Hong Kong for you and will send it to you as my gift.

Why do I promise that?

Because I went to Hong Kong with such a screwed-up view of God as my Father. I have grown up with a totally warped and wrong view of fathers. I was the first born son in my family, yet grew up always feeling like I was 2nd best to my younger brother. I wasn't into sports or anything that my father deemed vital to become a man and my younger brother was. Worse - I went into nursing whereas he went to business school.

So whenever the Bible or church mentioned the Fatherhood of God, I turned off and had an immediate view of disapproval, of disappointment and of preferring other more "manly" sons.

But in Hong Kong the pre-dominant experience I had through an encounter with God was that I realised that "Abba Father!" is TOTALLY different from my warped and distorted view of fathers. I was flooded with the love and passion of God and realised that His primary emotion towards me WASN'T disapproval but PASSION! LOVE! INTIMACY!! JOY!! DANCING!!

I am not saying that the conference "cured" me but it showed me what "normal Christian experience" is. And I can't promise that hearing the CD's will radically change your life, but I promise you the CD's will give you an insight into the most powerful spiritual atmosphere I have ever been in - where the primary message is GRACE!!

So the offer is on the table girls ... email away!

I can't offer any words of wisdom, or insight or experience because I am a single guy with no children (although I did grow up with seven sisters!). But I promise you that on this blog, you won't find male chavinism or male domination or any such demon-inspired abominations.

You are loved, valued and respected here as daughters of God. Your opinion matters - your views matter - YOU matter! And you will ALWAYS have a voice here!

Please don't give up. There's so much that God has to reveal to us and show us as His beloved! Again thank you so much all for being so honest and so brave. I really value your comments as an insight into your lives.

lydia joy said...

Wow Dan, I appreciate your boldness on this post - you brought so much truth to the table with it and I love that!
This is my first Christmas away from SG and I am finally feeling free to be me and currently have a messy house, am not cooking huge elaborate meals or keeping myself "hot" for my man, only because I am doing enough caring for little ones...hello! But surprisingly by God's amazing grace my husband is slowly caring less and less how "perfectly" I perform.....praise God - I only write this to say reading all of this made me realize how free I feel and that a year ago was in bondage and felt trapped....so in a short time God can redeem!!
My heart goes out to SGM wife, I have seen what life is like for you and know the weight you must carry is heavy....I too will pray for you....Remember you are a beautiful precious daughter of the Great High KING of KINGS, he loves you and accepts you AS YOU ARE!!!!
Ellie, my heart goes out to you as well, I know this feeling all too well, it is not FREEDOM! I would highly recommend listening to Rob Rufus' message titled "Victory over Condemnation" I believe it was this past July 29th. I pray the tears will become laughter....

...He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds....he sets the captives FREE!

GRACE to you all!!!

Scott Stringer said...

Ellie, I just want to say that your comment made me feel such sadness, it really stopped me in my tracks !
The fact that "christian" men can make a woman feel like that just utterly disgusts me. I am totally with Dan in sharing his shame at men, in light of all the comments on his blog today.

I really pray that now you're out of SGM and away from people like that, that you just realise that not all men are like that.

When Jesus said that He counts us as His brothers, he wasn't just talking about men, he meant every man, woman and child on the planet...as equals !

The love of the Father is not something that is to be earned by following legalistic rules that these men might set. It is unconditional love, and He gives it freely to all of us.

And by the way, people really should take Dan up on his offer, I've heard some of the Hong Kong CDs, and it is truly amazing stuff.

lydia joy said...

Dan, I am wondering if it's possible for me to get those CD's from the conference......I have been so blessed by Rob's preaching, actually blessed doesn't do it justice...How 'bout the song "Awake O Sleeper ARise from the dead!! " -I am coming to life in Christ as it should be......!!! Thanks ~ let me know.....lydiagrewell@yahoo.com

Someone who is ashamed to be a man right now said...

I've sat and I have heard the Mark Driscoll comments and have kept my peace. And I've sat and read the comments and read woman after woman who have suffered at the hands of an egotistical, male chauvinist *sorry* pig and I can't understand why no one seems to be angry!

I have one question;

If surgery was performed on Mr Driscoll and a part of his body was removed - then I wonder how much of a big man he would be then, strutting around suggesting that women must keep themselves "hot" for their husbands? I hope he would have the decency to disappear to Mexico or somewhere in shame.

I'm sorry. I'm angry. You women deserve so much better. You deserve men who will love you and care for you AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH!!!

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks so much for your comment Lydia and Scott!! It always means so much when I know that I am not alone in feeling what I do! And Lydia I couldn't agree and endorse more your encouragements to our SGM pastors wife friend and to Ellie ... thanks for your wisdom in writing how you did.

Yes of COURSE you can have the CD's! I would be delighted to get them sorted out for you. I will email you as soon as the Christmas madness is over. There are about 12 speaking sessions altogether (although Isi de Gersigny is a prophetess and tends to speak for about 15 mins before getting on and prophesying!). But there are also extra sessions - 1 hour of worship compiliation which is AWESOME and also an hour Q and A session with Rob Rufus which was such an AWESOME session to be able to hear him respond to his critics.

Will be in touch Lydia!

PS: "Ashamed to be a man" - I think we can all identify with your feelings! I did note in the blog post I was reigning in my true expression of how I felt. I think your suggestion is quite in line with Mark Driscoll's Old Testament desires to punch and slaughter people he doesn't agree with so I am sure he would be quite receptive to your offer ;)

lydia joy said...

Dan, Thank YOU so much...such a kind and generous offer!!! I greatly appreciate this!! Can't wait!!

Ellie said...

I know alot of GREAT guys in SG who treat their wives wonderfully! (I hope it stays that way.) The problem is with the guys who don't and who get a bead on all the submissive things that we wives "should" be doing. If they are at all inclined towards "a woman knowing her place", their wife will certainly have opportunity to experience her husband as a "means of grace".
I have to fight to get a grasp on God's love & care for me, and the freedom that comes thru Him, when I have people in my own household (not everyone) who make it known that what I do or have done isn't good enough. I never ever thought that when I got married that someone that says that they love you & that claims to know Jesus, could bring me to tears with despair.
My ONLY hope is in Jesus. I KNOW that He can RADICALLY change people. I just pray it is soon.
I am hoping that I can connect up here with some ladies know about the true grace of Jesus. I really need some good friends close by. I was basically settling for going to church for my kids to have good Christian friends, but I really need them, too.
I'll email you, Dan, I'd like to listen to the CD. Thanks for caring, you guys. :*

lydia joy said...

Ellie
Thanks for sharing so openly your heart and your struggles.....I completely know how you feel, not long ago I was saying similar things.....you are right to hope in Christ, he will not fail you!!!
I have enjoyed getting to know you a little bit here in the blog realm, and would be more than happy to connect further if you wish to talk or need someone to vent to, or cry with......lydiagrewell@yahoo.com....I pray today God will smother you with his all consuming love for you!!! Grace to you....

JAames said...

I too like Dan feel a sense of shame for the male gender at present and this issue of not being aware of the effect that they can have upon the gifts that women are to be guarded most jealously and loved and nutured. What absolute hypocrisy to teach that because a wife doesn't keep herself "hot", she is therefore somewhat to blame for a husbands wandering eye.

Mark Driscoll clearly hasn't been into the book of Proverbs much and looked at the abundance of Scriptures that teach on the inner beauty of the soul.

I am so glad, Ellie that you agreed that not all men in SG are like this and I am glad for that but I too join Dan, Scott, Pete and Lydia and Julie in praying for you that grace would indeed come to your house - true grace - in the form of an encounter with God, that you may know HIS love as the most perfect Husband of all. THE example to follow!!

My over-riding feeling in all of this, is that we come back to the issue of Mark Driscoll coming to Brighton. Does TERRY VIRGO KNOW DRISCOLL SPEAKS LIKE THIS? Because there are thousands of young men who are sitting there soaking up everything that is coming out of this man's voice, soaking up his attitude and there will surely be some impact on their relationships with their wives.

And that worries me. For all it's good, Newfrontiers isn't a shining jewel of how husbands treat their wives anyway. We need more seminars from Dave Holden on how to be good loving sensative husbands not some 30 year old male chauvinist pig saying it's okay to ride rough-shod over the most preciosu people in our lives!!

For all horrid Christian men everywhere - to the ladies reading this. We are so sorry.

Peter Day said...

Ever since Terry Virgo's announcement of Mark Driscoll coming to Brighton, I have been keeping quiet on the subject, mainly because I know little about him, other that some of the controversies mentioned on various blogs.

I am also acutely aware, as a pastor, that I have made very many mistakes in the past - and I have sadly hurt people through those mistakes, although I have sought to put things right - so I am reluctant to criticise others.

However, this thoughtful post, and the courageous comments above have stirred my heart deeply. Thank you for everybody for honestly speaking out about these things that are so wrong.

I speak as both a man (a married man) and as a pastor, and I cannot find any Biblical or practical support for these declarations from Mark Driscoll.

We do not battle against flesh and blood

I watched the first YouTube clip that Dan linked to, and I also have read the other quotes with horror. It seems like Mark Driscoll regards manhood in some kind of tough macho way, which is nowhere to be found in scripture.

OK, David did fight battles. But today as the Church, we are not fighting for a physical land, we are battling against principalities and power, not against flesh and blood. Mark Driscoll speaks of a church-planter being tough, but there is a toughness in battling in prayer that wasn't mentioned at all. It seems like Driscoll is after the wrong kind of toughness.

As an aside, it seems as if Driscoll is looking for church-planters who are physically tough because he doesn't believe in apostles and prophets who lay the foundations of a new church. So he has to resort to the arm of flesh instead. Tragic.

This teaching is seeming to confirm men in their sin

I cannot believe the ridiculous affirmation of men having sex with their wives at least once a day. That is truly heart-breaking - what a terrible pressure on the women of these so-called "men."

There is no biblical basis for this at all. It is also horribly abusive as well, treating women like pieces of meat instead of precious heirs together of the grace of life (1 Peter 3v7).

My heart goes out to all of you who have commented above. I realise you do not know me - I am just a little unknown pastor of a small church in London - but this teaching is plain wrong.

It's wrong because men are supposed to live considerately, and to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Women are not there to be at the man's every whim and desire. A husband's call is to sacrifice for his wife, not take, take, take and demand sex seven days per week.

It's wrong because the term "sex" is used. Sex is the act alone. An act that so many men enter into for their own pleasure. The relationship between a husband and wife is (or should be) one of intimate love. When they come together it is for making love - a husband coming to serve and cherish his wife, not coming for his own pleasure.

I am so sorry that my sisters, precious King's daughters, have been subject to such falsehood. I pray for a real release of the grace of God to you all.

Men can never blame their wives for their own sin

All this stuff about women needing to help their husbands to avoid lust by being "hot" themselves, is complete garbage.

Firstly - it is a total lie (and I speak from personal and pastoral experience) that a man's lust problem is stopped by lots of sex at home. It makes no difference to a man's capacity for lust. Men, we need to take ourselves in hand and stop blaming our wives.

And wives - it's not your fault. Before our own Master, we men stand or fall. There is an abundance of grace for us to say "no" to all ungodliness. So, please don't take the guilt upon yourselves for our own failings.

Secondly - the only beauty that the scripture commands a woman to have (in 1 Peter 3) is that of a godly character. That is sound advice, and is completely free from any pressure, because there is grace from the Lord to have the "unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3v4)

Men of God in scripture did not adopt the world's standards

A couple of years ago in my church I did a serious of men's breakfasts where I taught on men of God. I don't recall ever teaching on macho-ness, or sporting prowess, or physical toughness. None of those are scriptural standards for manhood.

I may well post some of my teachings on my own blog in the new year. But I believe with all my heart that we need to see a return to biblical manhood, not to chauvinistic manhood.

Above all, men need to get into the presence of God. I, for one, would rather pursue the glory of God than the honour of the men of this world. I would rather bask in the cloud than anything else.

In summary...

I just want to say to all of you who have written of your hurt and suffering - on behalf of men, husbands and pastors - I am so sorry.

I stand with what Dan has said, and others, and I encourage you all to take a diet of grace and may the Lord flood you with His joy and a real release from the burdens you have carried.

With love in Jesus.

sad but hoping sg pastors wife said...

thank you peter for what you wrote and shared, and thank you too, to the other guys who have stood up and apologised for this macho-craziness. you have brought hope to my heart. i must confess in recent days i have begun to read some feminist literature with new eyes. we were always taught in SG and indeed taught (!!) that feminism was the new arm of satan and as wayne g himself teaches - the fast road to homosexuality or something (?!).

but i am increasingly able to understand the anger and hurt from where our feminist sisters are coming from. I suspect i am not alone. From my insiders testimony SG and other "complimentarian" churches are NOT full of submissive, wet blanket wives who are happy whenever their husband barks at them to go make the dinner. i've struggled to keep resentment down like bile for years now..

So thanks again peter for your wise words, i wrote them down and took them away for my notebook because it is so good to have some actual biblical teaching on this - some insight into what the Bible REALLY does say.

i for one would love it if you began to publish and blog some teaching on what REAL men (not Driscoll clones) should look like. please for the love of God tell our men that it is okay to cry and to sing love songs to jesus but still go out and run a half-marathon in record time!

yours hopefully.

ps; thank you for the love you have all shown me. its a rareity.

Charles S said...

I think the only pure and simple reason why Driscoll has been invited to the UK is because of his numerical and fast success in his church. Pure and simple. Virgo himself admitted it;

"I am impressed by what has been accomplished by God through his ministry based in Seattle, where a church of several thousand has been built in a few years, starting from almost nothing and largely not through church swapping but conversion".

(http://www.janga.biz/terryvirgoblog/?p=71)

Who cares? Numbers don't mean a thing! What does matter is - does the Presence of God visit Mars Hill Sunday after Sunday and do they see signs, wonders and miracles? What is the calibre of the thousands of members in that church? Are they true disciples going out quickly trained up to disciple other new converts? Are they baptised in the Holy Spirit? Do they walk in intimate worship and encounter with God?

R T Kendall warned against the danger of a man being "promoted to the level of his incompetence". It's prophetically coming true here. Genuine - Driscoll may be. Sincere - Driscoll surely is. Who isn't sincere? Hitler was sincere!

But is he causing people to stumble through his public ministry? From the comments here, surely he is and not in a convicting loving way through the Holy Spirit but through making ridiculous statements about how often couples should have sex.

Does Terry Virgo know, someone asked? I don't know - but I would challenge those of you in NFI to make him aware. After all, Terry will be held to account at the Judgement Seat for who he allows the thousands at the conference to be exposed to.

James B said...

I'm sure Terry does know. He surely wouldn't give the Brighton platform away to just anyone? After all - what a responsibility, that speaker whoever he invites is addressing the entire gathered leadership of Newfrontiers.

But if he does know, what on earth does he make of comments such as these?

lydia joy said...

I just have to say I am encouraged, sad tired SGM pastor's wife has become sad Hopeful SGM pastor's wife......this is worth a Shout and Amen!!!

Dan Bowen said...

Amen Lydia I noticed that! I really have the faith to believe that by the power of the Spirit of God, this can become "Freed, dancing, beautiful, loved daughter of God!".

But seriously one thing I have learnt in this year is that the Spirit of God is in the BUSINESS of changing lives. This awful, demonic, stinking apathy that resides over much of the church tells the lie - "It'll never get better". "It will never change". "Give up hope". "Settle for second best".

This is a LIE! The Spirit of God comes down upon people to change lovingly and gently but to upset the status quo. So please - as this year draws to a close, whether it has been a good year or a bad - please just find room in your heart to believe that the Holy Spirit can bring change.

Take heart daughters of Zion therefore!

lydia joy said...

Amen Dan!
I can attest to that - the Holy Spirit has done amazing wonders for me this year -last year I could have called myself tired, depressed losing hope and joy wife of a angry lost cause!!! But now we are rejoicing and reveling in the awesome faithful love of our God who has open the floodgates of His Heavenly Rays of peace, joy and love.....so I know that I know that I know that I know that He can, will and wants to do this for all his beloved Daughters of Zion!!!

smiling crying sgm pastors wife said...

*smiles*

well i think I discovered what they say about faith being catching. I logged on just to read again your words and I was so touched to read Lydia and Dan what you wrote for me.

Thank you.

I think I dared to hope tonight for years that it could be true. That 2008 could be the year when the Holy Spirit breaks out in this tired old vessel. But I am worried - will I burst?! It's been so long since I allowed Him to take control of me!

Thank you again.

Peter Day said...

Thank you, sgm pastor's wife. I pray that hope would grow and your smile would grow and that after all the years of battling you reap in joy.

Since I first read this post yesterday evening, and throughout today as I have read the growing number of comments, I have had a growing burden to see a release of teachings that challenge the macho-ness of so much of what passes for "teaching for men."

As I said in my earlier comment, I did some teaching a couple of years ago to the men of the church I pastor. I have had a growing conviction today to start publishing that material, and to add to it where appropriate.

So, I have started another blog - After God's Own Heart where I plan to start publishing posts next year. I don't in anyway want to promote my own teaching, just to help anyone who wants to read such material. Feel free to visit.

I would also like to echo what Dan and others have said above - while I am many miles away in London, I am very willing to listen by e-mail and encourage where I can. If anyone would like to e-mail me, my address is peter@thebestisyettocome.org.uk.

I am told by those who study numbers in the Bible that 8 is the number of new beginnings. So, please Lord, let 2008 bring fresh new beginnings in joy, peace, hope, liberty and an abundance of grace by the Holy Spirit.

James B said...

This is a really great idea and I am so grateful for this. I am sure many of us will look forward to seeing what comes out from this blog. Its a wonderful thing when we take it one step further, rather than just sitting and debating and criticising, but also saying and doing something positive about what we perceive to be wrong.

I am sure I will learn loads from this.

Jesse P. said...

Hey, it's Jesse checking in. Merry Christmas everybody. Good to see we're all still alive in the blogosphere.

I am sad to hear of the oppression and temptations to harbor bitterness. Clearly there is an effect of this sort of teaching in SGM that has had an unintended effect, perhaps an effect that the leadership is unaware of. I hadn't been aware of it prior to reading some of these things on the blog.

So, my comments are in two categories:

1. Understand where Driscol is coming from: he lives in a very liberal area, where biblical masculinity is mocked by liberal feminists who hate the fact that God has placed any restrictions on sexuality, and defy God's sovereignty by saying that people should be able to choose which gender they are, trashing God's original beautiful design.

So, although we might not agree with Driscol's methodology, to his credit, I think he recognizes a very serious threat to the gospel and church, the ruining of the biblical family structure.

2. Second, I am grateful for the acknowledgement that not all Sovereign Grace pastors are this way. I am a SGM pastor (in training) myself, and my dad started one of the founding churches in SGM back in the day.

Men like my dad back then came out of the 60-70's, heart of the feminism movement, and mom didn't know anything about being submissive, they'd never been taught these things.

Then they started to come onto some of these teachings about roles, male headship, a wife's role as helpmate, and mom would say she hated it for a while. But she embraced it. Now granted, dad was no chauvinist, he's far from that, serving her and helping out, he's always doing things in the kitchen, house, and lives with her in an understanding way...

The reason I'm mentioning these things is hopefully to provide some more hope for the SGM pastor's wife. I've grown up in the movement, been part of 4 different SGM churches over my life as a child, and now a pastor, and married to a woman who grew up in the church we're currently part of, and I've never picked up on this sort of attitude that your talking about. So, if it would seem as though it's wide spread to you, I don't think it is. Perhaps it's more localized to your church or area.

If what you're saying is true, and this teaching has been so incorrectly applied, then I guarantee there are many people who would be alarmed to hear about it, and you should tell them, if you go to them for help. If you'd like to talk to another SGM pastor's wife, my wife Rebekah would love to talk to you. Call the office (Metro Life, Orlando) and I can have her give you a call. That's the beauty of being part of a relational family, flaws and all.

Jesse P. said...

I need to correct one thing I just said. I shouldn't say "I've never picked up on this attitude you're talking about." That's not true. I've picked up on chauvinism. People make jokes they shouldn't make, and who have unrealistic expectations on their spouses. So, yes, I've picked up on these things and acknowledge them.

What I meant to say is that I've never picked up on any sort of teaching, from the apostolic team or local pastors which would condone male chauvinism. The teaching is centered around the husband as serving the wife, and providing servant leadership, valuing her, cherishing her as equally valued by God, although there are differences in role and authority.

Ellie said...

Jesse, it doesn't matter where Mark Driscoll lives or comes from. We are called to act as Jesus did. I don't recall Him making crude jokes or putting down women. I think a more serious threat to the gospel and biblical family structure than liberal feminists is the subtleness of this male headship/submission of women. You may not see it in the teaching of the leaders but something "chauvinistic" (for lack of a better word) is surely filtering down to the men. Mutual care and submission of a husband and wife used to be what I heard taught. Women happily took care of the babies/children and the household and men were encouraged to pitch in, like your Dad did. That just encouraged the wives and made us want to do more. Now we are hearing all this calvinistic male headship/submission teaching/indwelling sin/we can't possibly hear the voice of God for ourselves and it is just so oppressive. This is not just in one church, I know for a fact that at least 3 different SG churches are represented here. You have been raised by a Dad that has taught you good things, who has treated your Mom with respect and not in an overbearing way. You are not going to see the bad things in your family life. However, most guys haven't had this good teaching by their fathers, and now since the doctrines of the church have changed and many new people have come in while some have left, those men have never even had the benefit of what we used to hear taught 10+ years ago. This stuff is subtle, maybe the men don't even know they are doing it, but if a pastor's wife has experienced it, I can guarantee that the rank and file certainly has. Maybe they have learned to accept it as what God has called them to, but I don't see Jesus treating women like that. It may be taught that men and women are valued equally, that we just have different roles, but in real life, it just doesn't seem that way. Things have really really changed in SG and NOT for the better, no matter what the numbers say.

Jesse P. said...

Ellie,

You're definitely on to something. Some of the teaching was powerful years ago when it was backed up with the compelling examples of servant leaders.

Now, there are many coming into the movement and it's a real struggle to impart these things in practice as well as in teaching. We seem to be doing a better job talking about these things than actually exercising them.

I would have this observation not just in this arena, but also other areas as well, such as pneumatology. We seem to do better talking about the gifts than exercising them all the time.

I guess it comes back to the Book of James and how it encourages us not to just be hearers of the word, but doers, and apply what we learn.

So, I have a question for Ellie, the SGM pastor's wife, Lydia:

In what ways do you pick up on this oppression? Is it in the teaching of the pastor? Is it small group discussion? Is it expectations about hospitality? Is it in private conversations with other people? Can you give me some real life examples of things that have happened that have made you feel the yoke of legalism?

Ellie said...

I think the reason why it's a real struggle to impart these things in practice as well as in teaching is because the JOY of the Lord has been taken out of the whole equation. We used to be taught that we were a people of destiny, that we were "the apple of His eye", that He delights in us, that we were "justified freely by His mercy", etc. Listen to some of the OLD PDI songs, you know, the ones with the stylized, goofy music, but with fantastic lyrics. When we sang that music week after week, and were taught along the same lines, it sank down deep into us about who we were in Christ Jesus. Now we hear about how desperately deceitful our hearts are and how leadership knows more than we do about what God is saying to us. We can't trust what we think the Lord is saying to us. And to hear about indwelling sin week after week after week (I am not kidding) is just having the opposite effect than what is intended. Jesus drew sinners to himself in droves, He gave them hope. I don't see hope anymore in the church that I have loved so much.
At this point I can't really get any more real life than this. I really really wish that you could help change this all around, but I think the problem is so subtle and the leaders are so oblivious to what's really happening that either people don't want to say anything and you will have to pry it out of them with a crowbar or they will just leave because they believe that no one really wants to listen and that they will just be labeled as divisive.

sg pastors wife said...

Hi Jesse, thanks for your honesty and openness, i appreciate the chance to answer your questions. Is it in the teaching of the pastor? Well seeing as that is my husband, that's a tricky one. But I would have to say I don't think my husband has been faultless in this area. In times of openness when we have been able to be accountable he has confessed that he has allowed the male chavinistic legalism to creep through. But usually we don't discuss it :(

I would definately put much of the emphasis on it occuring in expectations of hospitality. I have been barked at by men who are not my husband to "go and put the kettle on" after care group, or even more have been simply stared at. One occasion I remember the Spirit of God actually had touched me during the care group and I was just sitting basking in His Presence enjoying a touch of His fellowship which is a rare thing, and I became aware I was being stared at by many of the men in the group who didn't seem to understand why I wasn't going to prepare the food and hot drinks. I sighed and went and got on with it.

Private conversations with other people? That's the worst - especially if it is the SG Leadership Conference. And yes I have picked it up from the apostolic team - just a few comments. But maybe I am alone in that. That's where all the pressure comes because the other pastors wives always have it "together". They always talk the lingo and they always have smiles on their faces about what a joy it is to serve their husbands. And I stand there and wonder if I am the only one who's heart is breaking. :( And yes - I have heard discussions about "having sex with our husbands once a night because they need it".

I hope that gives some insight into my life and I hope that you understand I (and we I think) are not being deliberately divisive or dis-loyal to the group of churches we are a part of. I don't quite get my head around the blogging world yet but this has been the only forum so far where I have been able to be honest for once.

I praise God for you if you are a loving, caring and sensative husband to your wife. Please keep being so. Here's a tip - watch her eyes - because although she may be smiling, watch the eyes. If they are sad, then your wife may just need a hug, or a kiss or a surprise bunch of flowers to show she is valued. I am sure you do that anyhow.

Dan Bowen said...

Hi Jesse, many thanks for your comments and happy christmas to you too. Hope you had a good time with your family and friends! I appreciate the questions you have brought here and they are ones that need to be asked. But just a few comments on some things you said;

"biblical masculinity is mocked by liberal feminists who hate the fact that God has placed any restrictions on sexuality, and defy God's sovereignty by saying that people should be able to choose which gender they are, trashing God's original beautiful design".

I just would like to take a step back and ask how these liberal feminists developed into the attitudes they did. Let's not label them but see them as people - men and women. (Because I do think feminists can be men). Rather than attack where they are at present, wouldn't it be helpful to understand why they became like they did? Could it be that they are reacting angrily to the hyper-chauvinism that Mark Driscoll has displayed touches of and other men I am sure before him?

I cannot believe that anger and hatred developed out of no-where. As you know I work in nursing which is a primarily female environment and there are many feminists there as you might be able to imagine. I have often asked about the anger and resentment towards men when I have made relationships with these women, and it always seems to have a source - whether it be more serious such as rape or sexual abuse by a domineering father or uncle and a passive mother. Or maybe it is just watching the day to day perceived oppression of their mothers or role models as they have been growing up.

Please understand I am not asking for a big mass therapy group! But I think a little understanding of their backgrounds may - just may - give a little insight into the present. And maybe that insight may mean that we don't have to respond with such robust defence of our "masculinity" but rather being prepared to apologise on behalf of those who have done wrong.

Surely standing up and admitting that men can be wrong and can blow it, in terms of treating the women most important to them is one of the best and most "masculine" things you can do!

Then secondly although Mark Driscoll has been the catalyst in this conversation, groups of churches such as SGM have entered into it of course. Like yourself I come from a background where complementarianism has been taught as an important value and it is something that would characterise much of our church life. If my home church had remained in a position of prominence in church life in the United Kingdom, then I am sure we would be hearing from some of the women there!

Interestingly enough while I was at home yesterday I had a great chat with my mum after everyone else had gone to bed and I showed her some of the comments from the dear sisters in Christ who have been so honest here. She was horrified that such teaching (which she would agree with too) has lead to such pain and heartache but immediately saw the definite danger of such over-zealous application of complimentarianism.

I think we must agree that any student of church history (which I am sure you did at SG Pastors College) would know that when an aspect of Bible teaching is corrected, when there has been neglect of it, there always seems to be an over-enthusiastic, perhaps excessive swing to the other extreme.

That doesn't mean we have to throw up our hands in horror and say "back to feminism!". But surely we can be honest and tweak (is that a British word or do you know what I mean?!) where tweaking is required, and be honest and admit where we have got it wrong.

I am encouraged that as yet no-one has left angry feminist comments in the light of this. I would have understood if they did because I believe in complimentarianism (although maybe don't put quite as much an emphasis on it as C J Mahaney does) but I was embarressed by Mark Driscoll's comments. They were simply unbiblical in my eyes - although if you can find biblical backing for the kind of man he is trying to raise up, or the issue of a wife expected to have sex with her husband once a night - I would be interested to here what you have to say.

Thanks again for leaving those comments. Your input and views are indeed welcome!

lydia joy said...

I want to chime in here and echo what Ellie said a bit. Unfortunately, SG has become so consumed in a "well groomed" body of believers, there is such a strong emphasis on so many areas of our lives, they have become categories that we need to "get right" -such as marriage, parenting, hospitaility, intimacy, organization, home management(speaking for the ladies/wives)......and so we have become so focused on our roles and all the areas that come with that, that we have essentially segregated men and women instead of unifying them...at least that is how I see it. We do not focus on the joy of our salvation, we do not focus on the entirety of the Gospel, we do not remember that Jesus died for ALL our sin, past, present and future, therefore taking away the need to obsessively discuss our sin issues to the "nth" degreee......we are so focused on roles, our part and sin, that we can't possibily see our amazing inheritance in Christ, it has been drowned out!
Anyway, Jesse I appreciate your desire to understand these issues the ladies are struggling with and with regards to legalism.....however, in my opinion it is subtle yet so pervasive, once you see it you will be horrified......a little leaven goes through the whole lump......I don't think this is an easy battle to take on......

Joanne Thompson said...

I appreciate you are dealing with SG - a group of churches I am not familiar with and I don't want to interfere in that or interupt the flow ... but I just have a small thought to contribute.

I am not familiar with Mark Driscoll however I am familiar with the male chavinist attitude he vomits out. From the photo of him, I wonder if HE has ever considered keeping himself "hot" for his wife? Not meaning to be personal, but he isn't exactly Vogue Men's Feature of the month is he?!

James B said...

Jo - welcome to the discussion! It's great to hear from you and I certainly can appreciate where you are coming from! I am sure Driscoll would argue round that suggestion in some sense but - yes. Do we have the right to make demands of others if we haven't dealt with the plank in our own eye!?

What gives men the right to become fat and flabby just because they have "got the girl" - and yet expect their wives to remain hot?!

I think all this ridiculous outer adorning talk is fast dealt with in Proverbs. It's the HEART that truly makes one beautiful. Of course we don't need to necessarily take joy in being a picture of unhealth. But obsession with fitness and looks certainly isn't glorifying to God either. Where does it stop? Will Driscoll be suggesting his wife indulge in a bit of plastic surgery as she grows older?

Jo Thompson said...

Thanks James, I thought I would be hung, drawn and quartered for leaving a message here! I noted in some earlier comments that there was some suggestion that feminism developed from hyper-chauvinism. I would certainly agree with that - all we want is equality. I happen to be one of the "non-angry" women, but I know a lot of my friends are very resentful because of fathers, brothers, uncles etc.

Dan Bowen said...

No one will hang draw or quarter you here for having an opinion Jo! Last time I heard, freedom of speech was something we can celebrate at the moment where we are writing so let's make the most of it. All I don't really like is opinions being expressed without any attempt to examine them or back them up with Scriptural evidence (if you are a Christian) and most certainly expressed with a lack of love.

Short of that - speak away! Thanks for posting, it is always good to know where people are reading and where abouts you come from.

As someone who states you are a feminist, I would be very interested in your opinion and your comments on some of these issues we are dealing with. You say that you agree that much of the anger in feminism comes from hyper-chauvinism. Can you elaborate on that at all?

Jo Thompson said...

That's a good question Dan and thanks for your kindness. It's pretty rare in evangelicalism as I am sure you can imagine for me. To be honest I can't add much more than my own observations. Historically as you know women have always been kept down and made to be the person at home who raises the kids. I think during the sixties, seventies - gradually awareness came that women were equal to (and in some cases superior to) men and the question arose as to why they were being forced to do sub-standard jobs while being denied the opportunity to vote, to generally take part in society as men did.

So its of course only been recently in the last century of so that women have got the vote, and got the chance to go to work. That's not to say we deny our nature-given (some would say God-gievn) role of having children. That's not changed - but why are we forcibly being denied the rights and the opportunities to go and take part in normal society living?

So much of society has changed and adapted and kept up - I think lawsuits keep such conservative, antiquated men quiet - but the church in some areas has not. Such as Mark Driscoll. So I am asking why is Wayne Grudem any better than the conservative men who didn't want us going to vote, or getting jobs? What's the difference? Isn't it all an attempt to deny us the opportunity to just do something we want to try?

Sorry for all that ... you asked ...

Ellie said...

Dan,
how do we email you?
Thanks!

Dan Bowen said...

Hey Ellie! My email is:

CharismaticDan@yahoo.com.

Jo, thanks again for your comments and your thoughts it really helps to get an idea of where you are coming from and where we differ and what similarities we have! I do really believe that much of the disagreements we have and hold are due to misunderstandings and misinformation.

Of course a degree of it will be theological in nature - for example whether or not we believe the Bible teaches that eldership of churches should be restricted to men or not.

But I think we can all unite surely across complementarian/egalitarian boundaries in agreeing that mistreatment of women such as we have been discussing is unacceptable and ungodly.

The more I meditate on what's been discussed the more disturbed I become and I defy Driscoll or any of his fans to defend biblically some of the things he is saying. And I want SCRIPTURES - not what he says.

James said...

I just followed one of the earlier comments to Mark Heath's site where you mentioned he spoke about Mark Driscoll coming to Brighton. Firstly like you I find it somewhat odd that the comments don't work on his site but secondly yes I find the comparison between the two speakers coming to Brighton really sad.

Rob Rufus = we looked forward to an anticipation of the Presence of God and the demonstration of signs and wonders.

Mark Driscoll = we can look forward to controversy.

Great! .... Not!

But I noted Mark says; "I am looking forward to a real feast of the Word at these two conferences". I find that somewhat sad too ... so this year the Holy Spirit has a year off does He??! He, like Rob Rufus, isn't invited this year?

Why are we splitting Word and Spirit up again?

jul said...

I think true word and Spirit people will not think of 'splitting'. They will never settle for one or the other, and will not be fed by 'ministry' that leaves one of them out.

Dan Bowen said...

Amen I couldn't agree more Julie. R T Kendall the former minister of Westminster Chapel in London once spoke prophetically (although I don't know if he knew it) and said;

"When the Word and Spirit come together, spontaneous combustion (revival) will occur".

I think men like Ern Baxter took great leaps to bring the two together, but I must be honest - I have never encountered anyone get so close to unifying the two than Rob Rufus. As I said before I have learnt more about the Word of God and insights into it from Rob than from many doctors of theology.

He honours the Spirit, he welcomes the Spirit, He is DESPERATE for the Spirit yet still preaches the Word.

I used to think Terry Virgo knew this as well, but I am currently quite confused about Terry and what he is upto inviting Mark Driscoll to Brighton.

The more and more I think about Mark Driscoll and the outrageous things the more clear I become that I cannot afford the time or the money to settle for one or the other and go to be fed by a ministry such as Driscoll's that will grieve the Holy Spirit, I believe, but belittling women.

Peter Day said...

I must agree completely with you both, Dan and Julie. I have sat in such wonderful meetings where the Holy Spirit has been welcomed. It has been so good, and yet, when the Word has been absent, something within me is still unsatisfied. Blessed, yes, but unsatisfied.

Similarly, I have been to many, many places where the Word has been taught, but where the Holy Spirit has not been given liberty to minister. The teaching has been helpful, I have even fed from it to an extent, I have learned sound doctrine and been challenged about living godly (but not usually empowered to live godly). But - I still leave unsatisfied.

And there have been times (and I agree with Dan, the times I heard Rob Rufus at Brighton and through the messages downloaded, and what I have read on your Rob Rufus blog) when I have been utterly blown away by the glory of His presence and the power of His truth.

Surely this should be the norm of church life. But it's not. It is such a tragedy. And all the examples of the abuse of the Word that people have shared on this post, are heartbreaking and - I agree - a grief to the Spirit of God.

Which is all the more reason to model this ourselves, to feed wherever we can, and to share the message of grace with whoever will hear.

lydia joy said...

Glad to hear these last few comments, God was just speaking to my heart about the importance of both Word and Spirit....I am finally getting it!!....whether you guys know it or not you are teaching me so much through the posts and comments you leave, and I am sure many others.......so thanks!!!

Squidgie said...

This is pure and utter slander - slander - nothing but slander of both Mark Driscoll and Sovereign Grace.

Dan Bowen said...

I would so agree with you Lydia - and it's something that I've learnt myself from starting to blog 2 years ago. I always thought the idea of blogging was a sort of online diary and journal. Then I began to find exactly what you mentioned - that the comments proved just as helpful as the post. So I am really glad that this has been helpful to you! It's an awesome privilidge to have you drop by and read and even more comment.

Ah "Squidgie" I wondered how long it would be before someone angry and anonymous dropped by. You've got a couple of things wrong unfortunately.

I consulted a website specialising in libel and slander and it reads thus;

"Libel concerns the written word and material broadcast on television or radio. Slander concerns the spoken word".

So I think you are accusing us of libel. But secondly the website said that when accusing of either;

"When an individual or company brings a libel or slander action, they must show:

1. that the words are defamatory of them;

2. that the words would be understood to refer to them by even one other person; and

3. that the words have been published to a third party.

A libel claimant does not have to prove that the words are false or to prove that he has in fact suffered any loss. Damage is presumed. A slander claimant will need to prove that the defamatory allegations caused actual damage, unless the slander is within certain categories".

(ref: http://www.carter-ruck.com/FAQs/Libel%20and%20Slander%20Cases.html).

I don't see how the actual blog post can fall into either category of slander or libel because I was simply quoting Mark Driscoll himself. I'm sorry if you feel upset at what has been written but perhaps you need to elaborate on exactly what you're upset about. Is it what Mark Driscoll said? Do you therefore agree with him?

sgm pastor's wife said...

Hi Squidgie again - I am guessing you are the same squidgie as over on "SGM ... Uncensored". You've just read quite a few people who all testify to the experiences. Surely that should make you sit back and wonder if there is truth in what is being said.

Squidgie said...

I am sorry - I apologise. I guess I over-reacted. SG and C J Mahaney have meant so much to me and I can't imagine church life without them and I guess it's hard to stomach criticism.

Dan Bowen said...

Hey Squidgie, no need to apologise. I grew up in a church very similar to SGM and was also very defensive of any criticism of it. It's natural we defend that which we love. I want you to know though, that there is no malicious gossip in any of our hearts. I loved SGM - I loved C J Mahaney and I loved the values they stood for. But those same values hurt me to the extent that it seperated me from my family and my family stood with the church rather than me. Your comments are welcome here - just all I ask is that you read and consider with an open mind. Just as I try to alwasy be open to the fact that I could be wrong.

Ellie said...

Dan, did you get my email?

Dan Bowen said...

Hey Ellie! No, sorry it didn't seem to have come through! :(

It's CharismaticDan@yahoo.com

Look forward to hearing from you!

Ellie said...

Dan, I just resent the email. I had your address right. I hope it goes thru this time! :)

Bridgette said...

Driscoll has been very popular with young calvanists for some time now. He was also in the emergent camp before he moved to the reformed side. He is also YOUNG in my opinion. As a 47 year old single woman and christian for 30 years would I respect him as a pastor to me? No.
He and his camp does have a good point about reaching men though. It is a huge problem. But the proverbial beer /pub sharing in this group is not the answer. A genuine Pauline conversion/REPENTENCE is.

Dan Bowen said...

That's an excellent point Bridgette - yes, he may have some excellent points about his ministry - he may be accomplishing new things but his success in certain areas doesn't equip him to address every area of Christian life authoratatively. Some of the best young pastors and pastoral interns I know who are under 30, are those who recognise the limitations yet advantages of youth.

Could it be that the Christian exalting Mark D onto a pedestal has been his worst enemy? People want answers from him, they want issues addressing which maybe he simply isn't experienced enough to answer.

Praying for you. said...

You are right Dan.
Watch this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=YE3FHMTAWHY


Stop by:
http://prayingheart.wordpress.com
.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks for your comment and the link "Praying for you". I am really saddened reading your site. Unfortunately I am familiar with the brand of church leadership that makes executive decisions such as the hiring and firing of leaders with the veil of secrecy over it.

That's quite an ironic picture you post at the bottom of your blog. I will be visiting it regularly and praying for you guys in Seattle - and I do mean that!