Mars Hill Vows

This set of vows is being circulated by Mars Hill Church, apparently as a tie in to Marc Driscoll’s Real Marriage book:

Um … about that last one.

My grandfather was raised Southern Baptist.

My father was raised Southern Baptist.

… Hi.

Via Jesus Needs New Pr

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  • John

    It’s funny because I know the guy who is the graphic designer for that church. He worked for Digital Kitchen before (they made commercials for big companies like Microsoft) and he quit to work for the church. They are currently running a seminar/sermon series based on that book.

  • mikespeir

    I love that last one. Its very appearance here is a tacit admission of a mountainous problem, namely, that Christianity, at least in the so-called developed world, is leaking members like a sieve. And sorry, Marc, it’s not because of some diabolical plot in infernal realms. It’s because people aren’t as stupid as you’d like. When they open their eyes enough to take a peek around, they see that what you’re peddling doesn’t gibe with reality. At least some of your very own grandchildren will not worship the god you do. In the next generation will be more yet, and then even more. The day will come when your descendents will be ashamed to point back to you.

    • Mogg

      Also, Mark, the guilt trip you are putting on the guys who take this vow and then have children and grandchildren who chose to live another way OF THEIR OWN CHOICE is pretty damn big. Way to set someone up for mental problems through a misplaced sense of responsibility.

  • FO

    Yup, how can you vow about something that is outside of your control?

    That is, unless you do not consider kids as independent human beings.
    (Maybe they do, but only between conception and birth…)

    • Isilzha

      Of course, if the kids don’t obey and honor you then you can always just stone them to death.

  • vasaroti

    Why the bassackwards sentence structure?
    I’d like to see clarification on serving one’s wife please. I suspect this serving will largely take the form of paying the utility bills, and he’ll pray over her as she does 100% of the housework.

    • Noelle

      It means he will occasionally cook dinner and help with dishes and other housework, or make sure she has chicken soup when she’s sick. By using the word serve, it misses the point of marriage as a joint-effort. If both are equals, then serving is unecessary. Serving suggests someone is the boss. Whoever wrote this probably thought he was doing something right. But even thinking of the action as serving is a set-up for an unbalanced relationship.

    • reynard61

      I strongly suspect that he’s using it in the same way that a farmer says that a cow is “served by” a bull…

  • Noelle

    Yeah, yeah the last line’s the worst.

    Ok. I’m usually no grammar Nazi (would be very hypocritical of me) but the passive tense in this is just plain awful. It’s simple to correct (and it must be corrected to even bother breaking down)

    I will serve the church. (ok, he uses my. “the” is better)

    I will love my wife. (that sounds reasonable)

    I will serve my wife (ya know what would be better? I will work with my wife. Or my wife and I will work together).

    I will lead my family. (um, don’t forget you have the wife…)

    I will pray with my wife (I’m prolly changing the meaning there).

    I will open the Bible in my home. (I assume you’ll be reading it? Why not go with, I will read the Bible with my family)

    I will be steadfast in hounding my descendants to the third generation to be just like me, and I will consider it a personal attack against me if they choose otherwise.

    • Elemenope

      I think the choice to use the passive voice is relevatory of what is really being expressed. It’s the easiest way possible to indirectly say “The universe is all about me! The only things I need care about are my possessions, clearly indicated with the use of the word ‘my’.”

      It also softens the impact of the last one, which in the cold light of day sounds the stupidest if said directly. The passive voice allows the author to avoid any scary action verbs that might indicate just exactly how grandpa is going to enforce his ecclesiastical opinions.

      • Noelle

        I’ll agree that’s why passive tense is so popular, and it certainly works to make this vow even more irritating.

        I also suspect passive tense is a bad habit acquired from poor grammar education and carried through generations by copying the speech patterns of those around you.

        In my youth, my AP English teacher beat the passive tense right out of me. My medical education tried to stuff it back in (I didn’t actively kill the patient, it just kinda happened). Those beatings were even more severe. I suppose that makes me sensitive to it’s different uses, but I’ve met lots of folks who agree it’s over- and incorrectly used.

        • Michael

          The passive voice isn’t a tense though.

        • alec

          No no no no no no no. You learn the passive voice from copying the speech patterns around you because language is a tool, not a sacrament – it is for us, not us for it. The passive voice is the only way a lot of valid English concepts can be expressed. If anything the trend is the other way – tiresome little grammarians-despots taking the switch to students in their charge because they learned from their own teachers that the Passive Voice is Bad. And only 1% of those tiresome despots know what the passive voice actually is – 60% think it’s passivity in general, without any relationship to the grammatical concept at all (use thrusting, dynamic verbs! man verbs!) and 39% think it’s something to do with the copula, which is thus objectively bad and the mark of an idiot because passive voice bad.

          “Drones kill five in wedding attack” has been called passive because it suggests a non-human actor. “Wedding attack kills five” has been called passive because it avoids an actor altogether, making the subject an event. (“Five [are] killed by wedding attack” is passive; the others are active. All tell some lies, some more than others; it does not correlate to the passive voice at all.)

          As this startling poster demonstrates, the old Orwell canard about the dreaded PV is objectively false – because when the passive voice is being used to promote some supragrammatical meaning, it becomes clunky and horrible. In this case, the passive voice is being employed specifically to make “me” the center of the universe. You’d think if it usually served that purpose it’d stick out like it does here – that is to say, like a sore thumb.

  • Wendy

    Grandfather—evangelical Assemblies of God
    Father—evangelical Assemblies of God PREACHER

    Hi! :)

    /my brother is an atheist too….hmmm a pattern?

  • UrsaMinor

    I can’t help but note that that strategy didn’t work for Classical Paganism, or we’d all still be worshiping Jupiter.

  • Erp

    For a Christian set of vows

    Odd that it is his church not God or God’s church that is to be served.
    Odd that there is no mention of loving one’s neighbor (or loving God); I believe those were the summary of the law given by Jesus.

    I wonder what the corresponding set of vows were for wives/women.

    • Len

      I wonder what the corresponding set of vows were for wives/women.

      I will do what I’m told.

    • trj

      My thoughts exactly. Where are the vows for the wife? I took a look at the original site, and I couldn’t find them.

      Were they afraid that by spelling them out it would be too obvious the wife is to take a submissive role in their idea of marriage? Or could it be that her vows just aren’t as important as the husband’s?

    • Noelle

      vows for women! Surely you jest. Vows are for the grown-ups who are responsible for running the joint. Women are barely more than children. Why would they be expected to grow up, get a spine, and lead? Maybe if there’s no men around, we could make an exception. But let’s not be ridiculous.

  • dantresomi

    so no one in my family can open up the Bible except me? kewl…

  • cello

    Are these meant to replace the wedding vows or be in addition to them? Because it is pretty big balls for an avowed Christian to say he can come up with something better than the words of the Bible.

    Which just goes to show what an egomaniac the guy is.

  • Dave in PA

    Those first six are in passive voice. Consequently, they’re terrible.

    That last one is indicative of panic. They’re losing their children and grandchildren to a world that has more reason than any other before it.

  • John C

    Actually, believers are not to make such vows/swearing of oaths, etc (see Matt 5:34-37 & James 5:12) but rather to simply ‘let your yes be yes and your no, no’.

    • Elemenope

      That’s a darn good point, John.

    • Devysciple

      Au contraire, JC.
      1)”2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.” (Numbers 30:2 KJV)

      2)”23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.
      24 And Abraham said, I will swear. [...]
      31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.” (Genesis 21:23-24,31 KJV)

      3) “53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.” (Genesis 31:53 KJV)

      4) “13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself” (Hebrew 6:13 KJV)

      I’m so glad there are no contradictions in The Holy Bible™

      • John C

        One problem there, Devy. Those are all OT references, even the Hebrews quote you cite is citing an OT verse. And this is why Moses (who represents the law, ie OT) was not allowed to enter into the ‘promised land’. But of course, you will not appreciate that last statement, ha. All the best friend.

        • Custador

          John, pertaining to your own, ah, limited edition take on Christianity: Please try to understand that you are quite unique. Most Christians are not like you, and the ones we really rail against take the OT very literally when it suits them (i.e. when it gives them an excuse to persecute people they don’t like). It’s irrelevant to us what you regard a TruKrischuns(TM) to be when a bunch of other people who regard themselves as TruKrischuns(TM) want a baying mob to hang us for being atheist.

          • John C

            Understood, Custy, thanks. What if my ‘limited edition’ take on Christianity is actually the unlimited…truth? And is this why I delight to hang out amongst you when others can barely ‘tolerate’ you, that you might see a true…hue? Or is it simply because of My love for you guys?

            How foolish and naive of me, how could I, one small voice possibly influence or ‘color’ your perception against a canvas angrily splashed with so many other harsh and pointed brush ‘strokes’ in tones less…warming, less endearing, right?

            • Jesse Jones

              Aye oh, Oh aye. Hold on man, no one was hating on you. It’s just you ‘must’ be aware that what Cust says happens like all time, right? The OT is used when it’s convenient for fundies to use it and rallied against it when it’s used against them.

  • JK

    What is the strange position of the letter L in REAL supposed to mean? ‘REAL Marriage’ with a broken letter in it? Is the whole thing a hoax?

    • vorjack

      I think it’s supposed to indicate that “real marriage” is imperfect. That is, “real marriages” have disagreements and problems that often don’t get mentioned.

    • Devysciple

      Since the ‘L’ is slanted, I’d guess the designer of this logo wanted to point out that if you follow those teachings, it’ll all go downhill pretty quickly.

      • Kodie

        I looked at a bigger image on their site, and the ‘L’ is not just crooked, it’s resting on the serif of the ‘A’ in ‘REAL’ and the ‘E’ in ‘MARRIAGE’, like a piece of the logo fell on the ground and someone picked it up and put it back where it was. It seems to have some significance, but I don’t really know what it’s supposed to mean, probably how they believe gay people are destroying the institution and this is how they rebuild it. That’s my best guess.

        • Elemenope

          I’d actually guess slightly less cynical and go with it representing the innate imperfection of “real” things, as opposed to the ideal being presented.

          [Edit: D'oh! I see Vorjack beat me to it upthread.]

    • trj

      Ha, anyone else getting associations to the opening of the “Married with Children” sitcom? The portents of those letters….

  • Alexis

    Odds are that some of the granddaughters will have wives and some of the grandsons will have husbands (whether legally sanctioned or not).

  • Xtine


  • DS

    Re the terrible grammar. Makes me crazy. Also point out that the last line should read “same as god and “I””, not “same as god and “me””. I imagine the author knows how ignorant his readers are, so why should he bother to have it checked for correctness. (My apologies if the aforementioned contains grammatical errors.)

    • Len

      The last line doesn’t say what you think it says.

  • fdr

    This is a great vow to make. Thank God for a church like Mars Hill that believes men should honor their wives.

  • Ben Yu

    As a critic, be sure to rightly represent what they’re meaning, and not just putting words in their mouths. Otherwise you discredit yourself. In other words, please do due diligence in researching beforehand. Thanks.

    • Yoav

      Why don’t you tell us what is that they mean, it’s not like Driscoll is trying to hide that he’s a misogynistic butthole who think wimeen should obey him because he got a penis.