Friday, October 17, 2014

Justin Brierley looks back on his 45 minutes with Driscoll--WtH notes that Driscoll's probe on sex counseling of pastors has him hoist with his own petard.
Driscoll has a dominating personality and can sometimes come across as being obsessed with the issue of ‘authority’, both in the Church and in male and female relationships. In the 45 minutes I spent with him he demonstrated, in word and in action, that he likes to be in control. When he subsequently complained on his blog about the way I had conducted the interview he even suggested that my own agenda had been one of power and authority. We published our own view of how the interview went.

and here's the article associated with the interview

Of note is this Driscoll quote "I am one who publicly repents, publicly apologises."

Well, we'll see, won't we?

Then there's this nugget.

Where do you think you have got it wrong in the past?
I think being in a room with 20-something non-Christian guys, I would sometimes work the crowd or take the jokes too far, make a shock-jock statement. I was just playing to the audience, more like a performer in that moment. Those are things I have been convicted of. I would say in the grace of God my teaching and preaching has changed and matured, and I hope to be able to say that when I am 80 years old

Give the customer what he wants, right?

Now ... it is worth pointing out (again) that the Brierley interview happened when Driscoll's star was at its peak.  His book Real Marriage had hit a #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list.  The plagiarism and sales-rigging controversies surrounding the book were at least a year away.  Driscoll was also about to go shake hands with T. D. Jakes and pronounce him a fellow Trinitarian a few weeks later with reflections on precepts and relational approaches that didn't seem much in evidence in the Brierley interview.  Driscoll was at pains to say the interview was combative and adversarial and that it felt like some critic had a chance to exercise authority over him.  This was done before the article was even out.

Brierley remembers the 2012 interview as follows:

I asked him about some of his more controversial statements over the years, and he made further controversial statements about British preachers in response. I also challenged him about his view that women shouldn’t be church leaders (giving my wife as an example of a female minister). It was then that Driscoll turned interviewer himself and started to question me, in a slightly aggressive fashion, about my doctrinal soundness, leading to a debate on the nature of atonement, hell and whether female leaders attract men into churches.

I’m always happy to debate issues of doctrine and host a radio show that does precisely that (although I’m usually the neutral moderator rather than the subject). What stayed with me was the way Driscoll – who I imagine had been expecting more of a ‘softball’ interview – seemed eager to change the power dynamic in the interview. Fed up with being grilled, he took control.

That Brierley endorses penal substitution as one of a number of views of the atoning work of Christ seems uncontroversial.  In fact Mark Driscoll's 2005 Christ on the Cross series (which was later adapted into book form as Death By Love) emphasized that penal substitution is one facet of a multi-faceted jewel that is the atoning work of Christ.  How did Mark Driscoll present Brierley?

He then admitted that he very much struggles to believe in penal substitutionary atonement—that Jesus Christ died in our place a substitute for our sins—and that he does not believe in a literal hell. In short, the reporter is a very liberal Christian, and on these issues I am not.

Driscoll, in his interview with Brierley, really got on Brierley's case about whether Brierley's wife talked with young men in pastoral counseling about sex or masturbation.  A few succinct observations.  First, why exactly would pastors (male or female) necessarily need to be the ones that young men would talk to about sex and masturbation?  Secondly, didn't Driscoll recount in Real Marriage himself how talking with young women who were recent converts and enjoyed sex wanted to know from him, as their pastor, what stuff was okay? 

Yet for Driscoll's question about Brierley's wife, could not have Brierley turned things around?  Did not Mark Driscoll say of his own pastoral counseling on the subject of sex that it amplified his bitterness toward his own wife?  Yep

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)
from pages 14-15

Mark: In the second year of the church we had a lot of single people getting married, and so I decided to preach through the Song of Songs on the joys of marital intimacy and sex. the church grew quickly, lots of people got married, many women became pregnant, and my counseling load exploded. I started spending dozens of hours every week dealing with every kind of sexual issue imaginable. It seemed as if every other young woman in our church had been sexually assaulted in some fashion, every guy was ensnared by porn, and every married and premarital couple had a long list of tricky sex questions. Day after day, for what became years, I spent hours meeting with people untangling the usual sexual knots in their lives, reading every book and section of the Bible I could find that related to their needs.

Although I loved our people and my wife, this only added to my bitterness.  I had a church filled with single young women who were asking me how they could stop being sexually ravenous and wait for a Christian husband; then I'd go home to a wife whom I was not sexually enjoying.  [emphasis added] One particularly low moment occurred when a newly saved married couple came in to meet with me. I prayed, and then asked how I could serve them. She took charge of the meeting, explained how she really liked her body and sex, and proceeded to take out a list of questions she had about what was acceptable as a Christian for her to do with her husband. It was a very long and a very detailed list. As I answered each question, she would ask related follow-up questions with more specific details. her husband said very little, but sat next to her, looking awkward and smiling at most of the answers I gave. After they left the counseling appointment to get to work on the list of acceptable activities, I remember sitting with my head in my hands, just moaning and asking God, "Do you really expect me to do this as a new Christian, without a mentor or pastor, in the midst of my marriage, and hold on for the next fifty years/" Peter walking on water seemed an easier task.

So Driscoll decided to preach Song of Songs because young people were getting married and then his counseling load exploded.  And this just added to Mark Driscoll's bitterness?  What did Mark Driscoll have to say in 2008 about bitterness again?
February 5, 2005
Mark Driscoll
Part 2, The Devil

about 34:10
The way bitterness works, as well, is bitter people are prone to blame their bitterness on the person that they perceive offended them. Amy Carmichael. she's a missionary, her little book If, she gives this great analogy she says:

If I have a glass filled with sweet water and I bump it, what comes out? Sweet water. She says if I have a glass of bitter water and I bump it, what comes out?  Bitter water.

All that sin against us, perceived sin against us, or bitter envy and selfish ambition by us reveal is what's already in our heart. The bitterness is IN there, and someone or some thing spilled it. And bitter people will say, "Look what you made me do. You made me sin, you made me gossip, you made me angry, you made me bitter, you made me fight, you made me run into conflict, you made me sin in my anger. Look what you made me do." And the answer is, "I didn't make you do anything. That was what was in your heart." I just bumped you.

about 45:00
What he says is, if you're a Christian and God, through Jesus Christ, is not bitter with you but forgives you then you must use the Gospel in your relationships to forgive other people. You have no reason to be bitter with them. In being bitter with them what you are saying is, "I refuse to use the Gospel for my relationships. I refuse to allow Jesus to do anything." And when you say that you ARE saying, "I am inviting Satan instead."

So if Driscoll on spiritual warfare in 2008 spoke the truth then even in his 2012 for Mark Driscoll to say that pastoral counseling only added to his bitterness might be a remarkable case-in-point.  Mark Driscoll described the pastoral counseling as what added to his bitterness in the 2012 book when in his 2008 spiritual warfare teaching to MH leaders he said that bitter people blame their bitterness on external people or things.  Bitter people have the bitterness that is already in their heart revealed through what happens to them.  Nobody made Mark Driscoll bitter but Mark Driscoll if Mark Driscoll's teaching in 2008 on bitterness as part of the ordinary demonic is true. 

But the kicker about the excerpt from Real Marriage is Driscoll describes himself moaning and asking God if God really expected Mark Driscoll to go fifty years hearing young wives ask what kinds of sex would be okay of a sort Mark Driscoll wasn't enjoying with his own wife.  Could that be construed as Mark Driscoll, in his bitterness, blaming God in some fashion for a bitterness that could only have come from within Mark Driscoll's own heart, at least according to Driscoll's precedent of teaching for bitterness?

Sure seems like it.

Of course Brierley wouldn't have had time to have presented such a detailed case and Driscoll was probably aiming to do a softball promotional tour interview promoting the book, after all.

But Driscoll turning the tables didn't just reveal that Driscoll wanted to regain control of the situation, it also invites an observation that some of the gotcha questions Driscoll asked Brierley in the final minutes of the interview boomerang if you compare what Driscoll was needling Brierley about with respect to his wife to what Mark Driscoll had already published for the record about how pastoral counseling with young people added to his bitterness toward Grace.

So when Mark Driscoll probed Justin Brierley about whether his wife, a pastor, counseled young men about sex, Brierley could have simply pointed out, "Well, you know, Mark, it's not like counseling young women about sex in the earlier years of the church was good for you."

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