1) On the day of Obama’s second inauguration Driscoll posted online, “Praying for our president, who today will place his hands on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know."
Obama has been quite clear about his religious beliefs. As far as I know, Driscoll hasn’t even met the President, let alone gotten to know him well enough to have any clue about his personal faith walk. To pretend to know the state of someone else’s heart and make a judgment like that is some serious hubris. We’re talking classic judgmentalism that Jesus warns against when he cautions that we ought to tend to the logs in our own eyes. And it’s the very kind of judgmentalism that is found in every cliché portrayal of Christians by the media. Thanks for being that living example of a cliché, Driscoll. And what is the motivation behind such a post? Is it to encourage Christians to pray for our leaders and our country? No, it’s to make a political point. We get it; you don’t care for Obama’s politics. An appropriate way of expressing that is to say, I disagree with [fill in the blank] policy because [fill in the blank], not ad hominem attacks on a person’s faith and, by extension, character.
2) Driscoll’s take on environmentalism, “I know who made the environment and he’s coming back and going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV.”
Mr. Driscoll, if you know who made the environment, you would know He termed it “good.” He is the One who knows if a sparrow falls, He is the One who throughout the Bible talks about the glory of His creation. Maybe another glance through the Bible’s myriad verses about creation would inspire you not to crap all over what God has made. See my Green for God post.
3) In a sermon, Driscoll once told his congregation the following, “God hates, right now, personally, objectively, some of you…Some of you, God hates you.”
Really, Mr. Driscoll? And what would be your Scriptural reference for that? Sure you can find verses that talk about behaviors that God hates, but in light of “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son” (John 3:16) and that God is “not wanting anyone to perish,” (2 Pet. 3:9) you can’t biblically support the idea that God hates the people that you hate. (And that’s really what you revealed in that sermon, that there are people that you hate).
The rest of these will fall into a broad category I’ll define as misogyny. Yep, hold onto your seats.
5) When the scandal of Ted Haggard’s homosexual affair broke, Driscoll’s response was to essentially blame Haggard’s wife. “It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.”
Yes, I’m sure if Mrs. Haggard had just invested in some Pilates classes and lacy lingerie, she could have prevented her husband having sex with another man. Regardless of the gender, it is never the spouse’s fault when someone has an affair. If things aren’t working in a marriage, the appropriate response is to address those issues with your spouse and seek counseling if necessary.
5) “A faithful Christian can no more say they are practicing yoga for Jesus than they can say they are committing adultery for Jesus.”
Driscoll also refers to yoga as “demonic.” His point is that people can’t separate the religious/spiritual aspects of yoga from the physical aspects, even though this is exactly what most Americans do. While I don’t agree with Christians who ban yoga because of its spiritual origins, I can respect their point of view. What I can’t respect is the fact that Driscoll condemns yoga while being an admitted mixed martial arts fan. How convenient that he ignores the spiritual aspects and origins of martial arts. As we’ll see in the next example, this is, at its heart, an issue with gender roles and misogyny. Driscoll approves of mixed martial arts because they are “masculine” and condemns yoga because it is “feminine.”
6) Here’s why I know Driscoll has serious gender role issues. He claims that mainstream church has turned Jesus into “a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ,” a “neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture” and our culture is one of “chicks and some chickified dudes with limp wrists.” Driscoll prefers to think of Jesus as “a prize fighter with a tattoo down his leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed.” He says, “That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up."
Wow. There’s a lot to unpack there, so let’s get to it. First let’s address his vocabulary choices. You’re a pastor. Your job is to show Christ’s love to the world. Using words like “queer,” “limp-wristed” and “chicks” isn’t particularly Jesus-y. But then we get to the real crux of the problem, the fact that Driscoll doesn’t worship Jesus, he worships a god of his own creation. I’m sorry if you can’t handle “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies” and “blessed are the meek” and “suffer the little children to come unto me,” but that’s who Jesus is. If you think that makes him a “hippie, halo Christ” and thereby, a wimp or “someone you could beat up” and that affects your ability to worship him, then you’re not a Christian. You don’t get to make God in your image. You don’t get to say that Jesus is Chuck Norris in sandals just because it makes you feel more comfortable. And by the way, while tattoos might be okay for Christians, as a practicing Jew, Jesus wouldn’t have had one. And I don’t think he’s gotten inked in heaven to prep for his Second Coming. Sorry to disappoint.
7) Here’s Driscoll on why women can’t preach, “…women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. … Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies. . . and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality.”
And…I just lost my lunch. Guess what, Mr. Driscoll? If we look at the content of men’s magazines at the grocery store we would find that they encourage men in our day to convince their girlfriends to watch porn with them, master oral sex for women who have no intention of marrying them, pay for dates to ensure the girl “puts out,” spend an average of nine-tenths of their child siring years having sex but trying not to get a woman pregnant… Need I go on? Besides, you’re comparing apples and oranges. You’re comparing secular readership of said magazines to faithful Christians in the church. There are plenty of women who don’t buy into the things these magazines promote and who are more than capable of leading a church.
Just as there are a plethora of men who buy into the lies they’re told by the media about how sex and relationships work, about how they have to behave in order to be “real men,” there are godly men who don’t fall for it. Unfortunately, Driscoll is not one of them. I find it sadly ironic that he demonizes women who fall for our society’s lies about proper gender roles when he has fallen for and perpetuates our society’s lies about what is proper for men. Driscoll has shown great contempt for men who do not fit the hunting, mixed martial arts fighting, grunting stereotype. He has even gone so far as to berate stay-at-home dads. It goes back to his warped, invented view of Christ. Jesus treated women with respect. When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, it was revolutionary because it was in a room that was traditionally off-limits to women and she sat in a position of discipleship. Equality between the sexes is not a threatening new concept from third wave feminism. It is a Christian concept. Freedom from traditional gender roles is not a new idea. It is a Christian idea. Just as Mary (and Priscilla and Deborah and Jael, et. al.) broke traditional roles for women, Jesus broke traditional roles for men. You can be “a real man” without being violent, without treating women like commodities, etc. Really, can Driscoll get any skeevier?
8) Yes, is appears, he can. The book that he bought bestseller status for includes a section wherein he claims to have had a dream depicting his wife having sex with someone else during the time they were first dating (at the age of 19). He asked her if the dream was true and she confessed that it was. He wrote, “Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her.”
This speaks volumes about Driscoll’s capacity (or incapacity) for forgiveness and grace, but also his views on gender. If a woman were writing about a similar situation and said that she would not have married her husband had she known he had slept with someone else at the very start of their relationship (a time when most couples are not explicitly exclusive), would Driscoll empathize? Or would he condemn her lack of forgiveness? What I’m getting at, is that I suspect Driscoll is more upset about the “deflowering” than the infidelity. If this were an isolated instance, I would cut him some slack. But given the vast evidence of his sexism, it is clear that what bothers him about this episode is that his wife was not a virgin when he married her. He buys into the virgin/whore dichotomy and feels cheated somehow that he wasn’t the one to “conquer” her and he doesn’t completely “own” her. Maybe I’m being too harsh. I haven’t read the book (nor do I wish to), but from the reviews I’ve read it seems that his wife is demonized thoughout. Rachel Held Evans has a really good review here.
I haven’t even gotten into all the disturbing reports about how he runs his church. I’ll briefly touch on one example here and let you do more research of your own. At one point, he claimed that some people in his church were “sinning through questioning.”
Gulp. That screams cult to me. If my parents taught me anything about Christianity, it’s that I should question. God wants critical thinkers, not zombie minions. Questioning Driscoll is a sin? Is he infallible? That’s a serious red flag that people in the Christian community cannot and must not ignore. Even if you don’t agree with me on the other things, surely you can agree that this is not healthy church leadership.
For further reading: