Susan Wise Bauer’s review of Mark Driscoll’s view on Marriage

Susan Wise Bauer has written a review of Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together by Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace.

This review is well worth your time, not only for SWB’s ability to get to the point about the book itself, but the problem of the “cult of the personality” that plagues much of evangelical Christianity.

Bottom line: What the Driscolls say here about sex and marriage that is any help at all has been said for quite a while, and better, by others. What is problematic in the book is very bad exegesis and theology, plus a lot of hype that is focused more on the controversy generated by Driscoll’s questionable (to say the least) views of proper gender “roles” in Christianity.




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  • Kwesi

    Pete, do you agree with this statement – “Anything is permissible as long as it is desired by both partners, affords mutual pleasure, and does not offend either partner”. In the context of marital sex.

    • peteenns

      I won’t be commenting on the book.

  • I agree with a lot of the reviews out there. Here is a quote from my review, which you can find here: “The problem I have with the first chapter is that they are using, as a measure of their marriage, the very perspective such books are trying to fight. Mark is writing this book, in part, to address the heightened sexual desires expressed in our culture, and yet he used sex to measure the growth and vitality of their marriage. I do not think that Christians should be asexual, but at the same time, I think we must regain an appropriate perspective.”

    • peteenns

      Thanks for the link, Josh. Great point.

  • Craig Higgins

    Rachel Held Evans also has a strong critique:

    • peteenns

      Indeed she does, Craig.

  • Dr. Enn’s

    Here is a quote from the book.

    “You cannot avoid it (conflict) because marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person …. Sin is the problem. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer.”

    Here is a thought:

    First of all Mark D. doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ is the answer because becoming a Christian doesn’t guarantee a “conflict” free marriage. (Just like Jesus’ substitutionary atonement doesn’t stop us from paying the penalty for our sin (biological death according to most.)

    Next, Mark D. believes that when God finally does deal with the “sin” problem, he also destroys marriage. (No marriage or sex in heaven is the traditional reading of Luke 20:33-35).

    Do you find it odd that God never “redeems” marriages? Or, that there will never be any marriage that is lived out under the original created order?

    I would also add that the curse of pain in childbirth is never removed because of the same problem. When “sin” is finally removed at the end of time, there is no more procreation.

    It seems to me that there are major problems with the traditional understanding of some of these topics.