A Complementarian Who Thinks Mark Driscoll Is a Misogynist

I won’t be reviewing Mark and Grace Driscoll’s new book.  That’s because I won’t be reading it.  But I’m glad that David Moore of Fuller Seminary’s The Burner Blog did. Dave confesses in his post that he is a complementarian, a position that I find biblically, theologically, and cultural untenable and downright disgusting. Nevertheless, Dave holds it, and he still thinks that the Driscolls’ book is full of misogynistic crap.

Over to you, Dave:

When I received Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll, there was a certain expectation. [The Burner] was expecting something irritating, something provocative and something worthy of the “Crazy Mark Driscoll” pet name I use to refer to the Mars Hill (Seattle) pastor.

I saw it coming, and got blindsided. This book is an astoundingly unbelievable disrespect for women.

I’m not much of a feminist. Men and women are different, generally have different gifts and abilities and both are valuable. In our household, I’m the chief decision-maker because my wife and I agree that is what the New Testament instructs. Plenty of people don’t agree with that, and that’s fine.

But holy cow: My wife is still a person, she still has needs that are at least as important as mine, and I am called to serve her as Christ serves the church. I fail a lot, but if I’m not sacrificing my needs for hers then I’m not doing a very good job. (My lovely wife might tell you that I’m not doing a very good job.)

READ THE REST: Mark Driscoll Thinks Wives are Only Good for Sex « The Burner.

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  • Very interesting. I am with you – won’t be reading it, not worth my time. But still, it’s nice to know that even those with whom I disagree are able to see these things.

  • “pastor mark” may actually be guilty of “causing a weaker brother to stumble” – i say weaker as i am quite certain that he bench-presses more than my weak upper body can manage. i say “stumble” because every time he opens his mouth he causes me to fail to love my brother (or my enemy… not sure which he is). for this reason, i wonder if we might start a fund to purchase a very large “millstone” that might be hurled, with “pastor mark” attached, into puget sound? (see what i mean? he illicits the most un-christian thoughts from a guy who is typically pretty peace-loving.

    btw… can i legally get him to stop calling himself “pastor mark”.

    • Rick B

      Maybe we should just change the meaning of pastor and let him have the word.

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  • Tim

    Thanks for posting this Tony, this book is getting a lot of discussion in my circles. Interested in what people think after they have read it. (I’ll likely read it it down the road).

    From the exerts, it’s scary how his wife is portrayed.

  • Justin F

    This book seems to be the Anti-Love Wins for all the discussion it’s starting to get. Wonder if it’ll break into the general press like Love Wins did. Can we get Tony to tweet “Farewell Mark Driscoll”?

  • The scariest part is the rank on Amazon. I don’t know if Rob Bell had that kind of staying power with the controversy and coverage from Time and other national news outlets. Who are the quiet millions who digest this stuff and seem perfectly normal to the outside world? Anyway, I’d really love to see Tim review this on Black Coffee Reflections ; )

  • Richard

    I just don’t understand how so many of Christ’s followers can get up in arms over the hint that Christ’s saving work might really save everyone and yet not be offended by the heresy of objectifying women. The problem is they aren’t literal enough when they read the scriptures and don’t take Christ or Paul seriously when they say, nope, its a new creation and new way of relating to one another.

  • Unfortunately a lot of people are following Driscoll. His message appeals to a wide range of people disgusted with pansy evangelicalism or working their way out of fundamentalism. God help us all!

  • haven

    Did anyone else notice how he’s totally cool with anal as a way to prevent pregnancy and still get laid? So gay sodomy is a no go, but straight sodomy, totally cool?

    love it. I’m sure his wife does as well. Yikes….

    • That rules out the “using your body parts for how God intended” argument… I don’t even think the Duggars could endorse this book now

    • dj

      Of course he’s into anal. There’s a reason he protests the gays so much. Methinks he doth protest a bit too much really. But every once in awhile, he seems to drop a little hint about why he does…

  • Alan Hoekstra

    I’ve read enough to know I won’t be ‘Kindling’ the book via Amazon and have read enough reviews to be disgusted by the half-truths, untruths, twisted logic and poor scholarship employed by the authors. This snippet from an Amazon review says it better than I could:

    “…Driscoll includes a mini-commentary on a passage from Titus:
    The Bible plainly says, “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

    Now, since this is so “plain” to Driscoll, he goes on to blast men who do not work outside the home. He does make an allowance – sort of – for working moms:

    Driscoll’s interpretation of this passage has been dismantled thoroughly elsewhere, but note that Driscoll’s model of family assumes that “family” means the “Post-Industrial Revolution White Middle-class Nuclear” family. But such a family structure is totally foreign to the Biblical world. In fact, the type of marriage the Driscolls describe in Real Marriage isn’t based on a single biblical couple. (To be fair, they do lean heavily on Song of Solomon. But assuming the author is Solomon as they do is problematic, since according to the Scriptures, he had over 300 wives, which makes him sort of a polygamist.) ~JR FORASTERAS Dayton OH Amazon.com review

  • Kimberly Ervin Alexander

    After reading this I am very afraid of what Driscoll and his Acts 29 “band of brothers” mean when they disqualify women for ministry and leadership while endorsing men who “lead with masculine love like Jesus Christ”.

  • dopderbeck

    I won’t be reading it either. Or the interview of him in CT. I’d be tempted to waste my time trying to respond to it. What a shame.

  • Zach

    I’m not surprised by this at all. What I’m surprised and deeply saddened by is the fact that a woman hating fundamentalist like Driscoll is such a big name. It’s hard to see how he has anything to do with Jesus, the Bible, y’know.

    • Ella

      I’m a conservative complementarian Christian woman, and I can assure you that many like myself are appalled by the Driscoll’s book. Of course, I’m one of the rebellious ones.

  • James

    Um….I am at a loss for words for this. He more or less equates his wife to a blow up doll for the meeting of his sexual ends to feel better….total lack of respect for his partner.

  • C Thomas

    This blog is a joke. Driscolls teaching is brilliant, don’t swallow this garbage.

    • Jefail.comf

      Amen bro, I’m not sure any of these people even know Christ at all the way there bashing a fellow follower of Jesus. Thats religion for ya!

    • Jonathan C

      I agree. He uses Scriptural methods and principles to defend everything he says. What is wrong with these people?

  • KimG

    Pastor Mark reminds me of the overbearing, insufferable character in Graham Greene’s novel A Burnt Out Case. The character claims to be a minister and is nothing but an inconsiderate narcissist. Those are the folks who give Christianity a regrettably poor image for the world to see.

  • What’s odd about these comments are that those blasting Driscoll’s book and yet refusing to read it are probably the same people that blasted people for making comments about Bell’s book before they read it.

    Pot calling the kettle black…

    • Well, Daniel, I am one of those people. I’d say the difference is Driscoll is a misogynist and a bigot, while Bell is a perfectly nice fellow who doesnt hate entire people groups, and who’s worst alleged crime is positing that God is too inclusive. One book is border-line hate speech, the other, at worst, just mistaken theology that doesn’t impinge on people’s actual lives. The grounds for dismissing this book out of hand are thus a bit stronger, I’d say, and the instances really arent all that comparable.

      • Bo,

        I’d say that unless you know both Driscoll and Bell personally it might be a bit unfair to make both postive and negative comments about either of those men, in that all you see is public ministry that is often quipped and quoted, but hardly ever seen in its greater context.

        Moreover, your argumentation is weak. Are you really trying to claim that Driscoll’s book is “border-line hate speech” when you haven’t even read it?! And, even if Driscoll’s exegesis is flawed (isn’t all personal exegesis at least minimally flawed?), I would still argue that his exegetical mistakes do not have eternal consequences, whereas Bell’s “mistaken theology” in fact does impinge on the lives of people, namely in the potential eternal catastrophe that might happen if Bell is wrong and people affirm his interpretation.

        • Richard

          Here’s where your logic breaks down – this post links to a blog by someone who has read the book and quotes from it to demonstrate that parts he disagrees with. Big difference #1 between that and people condemning Bell’s book before they read it.

          #2 for most of us this just regurgitated material by Mark. Based on the reviews that quote extensively from it, there are very few new revelations from Mark here. Its shocking to some because they’ve continued to justify and overlook his stance on these issues before but he’s been this way since he started preaching. The biggest shocker in it is that he expresses regret for some of the things he’s said in the past.

    • Jeff

      Sad, Mark has dedicated his life to following Christ and teaching to the best of his ability. @KimG its the people on here that are giving Real Followers of Christ a bad name. If you guys can’t disagree with a brother or sister in Christ and still love them, how much more can you love a lost a dying world?

  • Stacy


    Any recommendations for books that counter complimemtarianism and misogyny? I was raised under the teachings of people like Driscoll and I’ve had enough. Thanks.

    • Larry Barber

      I’m not Tony, but I’ve found the following helpful:

      1. Paul, Women and Wives by Craig Keener, good Biblical exegesis, Keener is African-American and so brings the perspective of another oppressed people to the discussion
      2. Beyond Sex Roles by Gilbert Bilezekian; Solid Biblical reading of all the “gotcha” verses that “complementarians” like to throw out
      3. Good News for Women by Rebecca Groothuis, among other things demolishes the “complementary doesn’t mean inferior” silliness that “complementarians” like to say.
      4. Women in the Church by Stanley Grenz and Denise Muir Kjelsbo, a good theological overview, bolstered by Kjelsbo’s pastoral perspective.

      Also, you can check out the Christians for Biblical Equality website. A little knowledge of Greek is also helpful for sorting out the gender wars in Bible translations.


      • SuperStar

        Craig Keener is not African-American

        • Larry Barber

          I guess not, I must have read too much into it when he said, in the preface to his book: “Most of the evangelical circles I know best (the Pentecostal and charismatic circles that first nutured my faith; the local African-American Baptist association in which I was ordained”. His wife is an African-African (from the Congo), he has authored books about the black church in America, and has pastored churches in historically black congregations. I simply assumed too much. My bad. He is still very sympathetic to oppressed peoples, though.

          • “African-American (from the Congo)”?


          • Larry Barber

            Read it again, jasdye.

  • Stacy

    Thanks, Larry. I really appreciate it!


  • Idontgetit

    Pastor Driscoll has a niche market share and he is developing a product his customers appreciate, it supports their views and reinforces their world view. That is a good thing always, because it generates income and increases the power base of the leaders. That alone justifies it being used and always will. May his tribe increase.


  • Rob

    I dislike Mark Driscoll but you have not read the book. Just like you did not read the Rob Bell book. Just like you didn’t read the Sojourner’s article before criticizing it. I get this is a personal blog. But stop deferring to other people’s opinions and start forming your own.

    • A) I’ve got plenty of my own opinions, which any reader of this blog is well aware.

      B) It is a totally appropriate use of a blog post to a reference to another’s blog.

  • dj

    I’ve said it once and I’ll keep saying it… Driscoll’s an a$$. I’m not sure why he gets so much press. Best to ignore trolls…

  • This review, and the comments actually persuaded me to buy the book and read it. I have only read the first chapter so far but I am already wondering how fair this review is. For instance, many of the quotes (not all) are from the first chapter which tells in detail their own story, however I am not sure that he is saying these are good things. A bit later in the chapter he confesses,

    “I grew more chauvinistic… So I started to distrust women in general, including Grace. This affected my tone in preaching for a season, something I will always regret.”

    and later

    “and I finally came to the end of myself in my mid-thirties. I was breaking, and it seemed there was no help, relief, or sympathy. My veneer of tough, self-reliant husband without any needs was gone. I really needed my wife in ways I had never told her and she was surprised to hear….”

    While I am not saying that everything he says is legitimate shouldn’t we recognize that if he confesses chauvinism as something he struggled with then it is not exactly fair to use that confession against him or to imply that he desires to promote a chauvinistic view of women. Certainly there may be areas where some chauvinism is residually apparent, and I am fine with calling him on those areas, I’m just not sure that this was a completely fair way to do that.

    Also, do we not have some responsibility to show grace in our review of him, especially in light of the fact that he seems to be confessing to and repenting of many of the things you are accusing him of?

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  • David White Jr

    I have only read the first 47 pages of the book but have gleaned some excellent points for discussion for couples, who want to improve their marriage relationship.

    page 15 “This felt like a noble divine assignment and began to change my motivation for pursuing Grace, because I saw her for the first time as the Father’s daughter—the Father who loved her as I loved my own daughter.”
    Discussion point: Are we pursuing our wife as the Father’s daughter?

    page 26 “Marital friendship requires both the husband and wife to be willing to invest what it takes to be a good friend.”
    page 27 “In our marriage, we have made the mistake of assuming we were friends and not working on our friendship as we ought to.
    Discussion point: How do husband and wife’s go about developing friendship?

    page 32 gives some help in developing marital friendship with a simple explanation of three kinds of marriages—back-to-back, shoulder-to-shoulder, and face-to-face e.g. the best kind of marriage includes shoulder-to-shoulder and face-to-face relationships.
    Discussion point: How do wives and husband build a friendship?

    page 33 gives some examples of how to build a friendship:
    “For a wife to build a friendship with her husband requires shoulder-to-shoulder time alongside him.”
    “For a husband to build a friendship with his wife requires him growing in face-to-face skills.”

    Page 36 provides some interesting discussion points about the difference in doing things FOR your wife/husband and doing things WITH your wife/husband.
    “But when we were not emotionally connected in prior years, I did not value her service because it felt as if she was doing things for me rather than with me.”

    Now, I have not read the whole book, but I get the sense that one of the most important things one can glean from this book is the last sentence of chapter 2 Friend With Benefits:
    “So we would commend to you the goal of devoting the rest of your life to being a better friend to your spouse.”

    I have been a Christian for 36 years and have a Master of Theology degree and do not necessarily agree with everything Pastor Mark teaches or says is okay to do, but I also realize that I am an old school Christian e.g. 58 years old and realizing the methods of communication are totally changing, I cannot relate to the rap music of today but the younger generation does and I believe Pastor Mark’s book is the rap music of Christianity today.

  • SW

    If you don’t like it, don’t give him the satisfaction of being discussed as if he were some kind of credible scholar. The only thing controversial about his book is that people are surprised it’s mysogynistic. If you’ve seen him talk it’s blatant.

  • Devine

    People that don’t accept the Complimentarian view are overlooking very specific scripture to force the Bible fit their worldview. God won’t change to fit you, YOU need to fit into GOD’s will. Read Ephesians 5:22-33 for example, also 1 Timothy 2:12, furthermore Colossians 3:18 says “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” The list goes further than this. It saddens me that people think that God doesn’t know what’s best and we can do whatever we want.

    Submission doesn’t mean dominated and lead doesn’t mean dominate. Marriage is supposed to be a symbol for us of what Christ has in relationship to the Church. He leads her but doesn’t dominate. You guys forget Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” HE DIED FOR THE CHURCH. Tell me how sacrificial servant leadership is disgusting and misogyny. People call it old fashion, but then again so is not having sex before marriage. (Sarcasm ahead) “How sick is it that God doesn’t let you ‘test drive’ the car before you buy it?” Stop living by the world and try living by the Word in all you do, not just when it’s convenient or looks good to a secular audience. Where in the Bible does it say to live in a way as to please the world? We’re always told to look different, but apparently (according to these bloggers) we’re only supposed to look different on our terms and not God’s.

  • Chuck

    I have no doubt that Driscoll’s book is rife with misogyny, but I think David Moore’s putting himself at the level of Christ and his wife on a lower rung (the Church) just because he has a Y chromosome and she a second X is pretty misogynistic as well.