This is an introductory post to Mark Driscoll’s theology, and in the coming weeks I will be covering him more in depth. For Feministing this means a focus on what Driscoll believes about sex and gender. Non-gender focused posts on his theology will be available at my personal blog. This post is about the core of his masculinity: misogyny, inerrant scripture, and Calvinism. Driscoll is a “shock jock” preacher who thrives on argument and the attention that gives him. Controversial remarks concerning biological sex and gender roles reverberate loudly in today’s society, giving Driscoll the attention he craves.
Mark Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. While this seems an unlikely place for a conservative Calvinist to take up shop, he’s a popular guy. 7,500+ people flow into his church (at various locations) each Sunday. Over 100,000 folks download his sermons on iTunes each week. The New York Times Magazine published “Who Would Jesus Smack Down? Mark Driscoll, a pastor with a Macho Conception of Christ” last year. Driscoll got his start working with the emergent church movement, although he has since decided most preachers were too “sissified” and has distanced himself.
I do no use the word misogyny lightly. I think it’s powerful word, and I think it speaks to more than just ignorance. There are plenty of men and women, even “traditional relationship” complementarians, I do not think are misogynistic. Nevertheless, there certainly are misogynists in the world, and Mark Driscoll is among them. He holds deep contempt for women. Even those who self-avowedly hate the “overwhelming femininity” in the church think he “blurs the line between masculinity and misogyny”.
Driscoll believes scripture to be inerrant and is a conservative Calvinist, a doctrine I’ll talk about in more depth later, but this influences his view of humanity. He believes that everything changed after the fall. God hates all of humankind, the elect and the damned alike. No one is has an ounce of goodness or virtue worth saving. The inerrant part of his belief leads him to focus on God’s curses after the fall, and is the basis for his misogyny.
“If your wife is working, you are a selfish bastard. How dare you make her shoulder her half of the curse and part of yours as well!”
“Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture.”
Driscoll has taken these scriptures (and a handful of others) and created a theology that requires women to be “homeward focused” and finds no scriptural evidence for a woman working outside the home, even if “given permission by her husband”. Cole NeSmith brings up Psalm 31:24 “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” but apparently, that doesn’t fit in Driscoll’s bible.
When Ted Haggard (conservative mega-pastor, Colorado Springs) was caught with a gay prostitute and meth, Mark Driscoll knew whom to blame: his wife. Zach Lind of Jimmy Eat World blogged about it the following quote before Driscoll could recall his essay from the web.
Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. 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 be helping him either.
This is Driscoll in a nutshell. Men, being manly men, are important. They achieve being “real men” when they have sexy wives under their complete control. Biblical Manhood means rejecting any femininity as wrong. If you are a pastor, you should only focus on men, because, like Eldredge believed, if you win the men you automatically get their wives and families.