Oxford: A Church called hOME
Out of Bounds Church Gets Blogged

Mark Driscoll Responds (Updated)

UPDATE: Protest is OFF
UPDATE:
Mark meets with critics.
UPDATE:
The Seattle protest for Dec 3 is still on, but People Against Fundamentalism organizers say they will stop it if their goals are met.

"Our goals for this protest are:
1. To expose to the city of Seattle to Reverend Driscoll’s anti-women diatribe.
2. To see Mark Driscoll removed as a religion columnist for The Seattle Times.
3. To extract a sincere apology from Reverend Driscoll for his comments and a pledge to cease demeaning women in the future.
If these goals are met prior to December 3, People Against Fundamentalism will call off this proposed rally for women’s rights in Seattle."
[link]

Heres what I think:
1. The city of Seattle has already been sufficiently exposed to this discussion.
2. Let Seattle Times make up their own mind who they want to write for them.
3. Mark would do well to write a more sincere apology. If he can do that, the protest would have accomplished a lot, without going to the point of public embarrassment for the church.

Related:
Mark Driscoll: The Skinny
Mark Driscoll Responds
The fat lazy blog-post that has let itself go.
Is the Blogosphere Ready for Mark Driscoll?

ORIGINAL: Mark responds to critics on his blog regarding the explosion last week. I re-post here because comments on Mark's blog are limited to attendees of his conference.

"Thank You, Critics
A blog I recently posted has exploded into quite a furor in some quarters of blogdom. Sadly, my intent has been widely misunderstood and/or misrepresented. Therefore, it seemed prudent that I provide some context and clarification.

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I am a Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Christian pastor. I became a Christian when I was nineteen years of age and have seen my life change very radically since that time. Presently, my priorities are to be connected to Jesus, my family, and the church that I pastor. In addition to that, I have the great honor of helping to pastor some other pastors.

Over the years, I have traveled the country to speak with many mainly young pastors. In those years I have seen far too many young pastors leave the ministry because of sexual sin. I can still remember the first such call I received; a friend who was the pastor of a new church in another state notified me that he had been caught in an ongoing adulterous sexual relationship with a woman in his church. To be honest, I felt like I was going to throw up. Since that first call, my phone has rung many more times and every time my heart breaks and I again feel like I am going to throw up.

Pastors are supposed to meet certain biblical criteria, criteria that are mainly about how we treat our wives, children, and tend to our home. Furthermore, we are to live in such a way that other people who call us pastor can imitate us, which means that fidelity is of the utmost importance.

As a result, when I got word of the recent fall of Pastor Ted Haggard, I again felt sick. Throughout the day, my wife kept asking me what I was thinking, and I told her that I could not stop thinking about his wife and children and what a horrendous season they had been thrust into. In an effort to help the pastors who allow me to speak into their lives in varying degrees, I then put together my blog, hoping to give some general practical suggestions for young pastors to think through.

What I did not mean to communicate was anything regarding the Haggards, particularly Mrs. Haggard. She is not to blame for the sin of her husband.

What I did mean to communicate is that most pastors I know who have fallen did so with a heterosexual adulterous relationship, often with someone they were close to in their church. In addition, as I met with many of these fallen pastors and their wives, I saw a common theme emerge: most of the marriages had serious troubles that included a lack of emotional, spiritual, and, subsequently, physical intimacy.

Sadly, too often the message of the Christian church to men and women is be a virgin until you get married and do not commit adultery when you are married. While this is true, it is also incomplete. What is sometimes lacking is full, free, and frank teaching from such books as the Song of Songs about the sexual liberties that can be enjoyed by married couples. As a result, there are some pastors I have personally known who have never really even discussed sexuality with their wife in any great detail.

The words of 1 Corinthians 7:1–5 are pertinent, “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

For those who are Bible-believing Christians, we must continually ponder Paul’s commands. He is saying that there are some ways in which not being married has benefits—especially for those working in dangerous contexts where persecution and death are probable. But because not everyone will remain sexually chaste, it is also good for some people to marry so that such desires have a natural and holy outlet. Within marriage, we must also accept that our body is no longer solely our own but is given to our spouse as a gift. Practically, this means that both husbands and wives should tend to themselves out of love for God and their spouse. This also means that in a Christian marriage, there should be a satisfying sexual relationship that does not cause one person to be embittered so that an opportunity is opened up for sexual temptation and sin.

I will reiterate that Paul’s commands are to both husbands and wives. When either party in a marriage is not a good steward of their body, or uses sex to control or punish the other spouse, hurt, conflict, and bitterness can ensue. The tragic result is often sexual sin, such as pornography and adultery. While such sins are not excusable because of a difficult marriage, a biblical marriage can provide some helpful defense against such temptation and sin.

As I have re-read my blog, I can see how some may have misconstrued what I said. Because I was writing to male pastors, I spoke in such a way that was not as clear as it could have been regarding what is true of Christian marriage in general. Therefore, I hope that this post is more clarifying.

My heart remains deeply burdened for the many young pastors who either do not enter ministry with a history of sexual purity and/or are struggling to maintain it in marriage and ministry. Pastors must continually strive for loving and satisfying intimacy on all levels with our spouse and to finish our race well many miles down the road of life. If you are a young pastor or Christian leader reading this blog who knows deep down that you are not in the best of places with your spouse and fidelity to them, I would simply urge you to seek wise counsel right away. Do not settle for anything less than what God intends for your marriage because too much is at stake to take any risks.

Lastly, I want to thank my critics, especially the most vocal. They have helped me to understand that more than just pastors are following what I am saying. Subsequently, they are helping me to learn how to more clearly articulate what I am trying to communicate. In that way, they have been of great assistance to me as I seek to pastor most effectively for Jesus. I have waited some time to post this clarification because in times past I have gotten angry and responded with a tone that was defensive, prideful, and not helpful. I am learning that critics in some ways are also friends because there is often some truth in what they are pointing out. Subsequently, God is using my critics to teach me and is asking me to be willing to listen."

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