Driscoll on Nagging, Word Studies, and Complementarianism

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church has made a couple of controversial statements recently.  This post linked to a sermon that he delivered on Ephesians 5:22-23.  In the sermon, Driscoll criticizes wives who nag, and he also appears to express a problem with Greek word studies, as he talks about the word “submit” in Ephesian 5:22 (“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord”).  Driscoll says:

“‘What does that mean in the Greek, Pastor Mark?’ You can always tell a rebel­lious evan­gel­i­cal. They do word stud­ies. They try to go to the Greek and fig­ure out if it per­haps means some­thing else. I’ll just read, OK.”

The title of the blog post is “Mark Driscoll doesn’t want you to study the Bible”.  But that’s not entirely true.  Driscoll later in the sermon encourages people to go home and study their Bibles.  But Driscoll then goes on to speak against people looking for biblical scholars who would tell them what they want to hear, so they can avoid obeying God’s command.

I listened to Driscoll’s sermon.  I don’t have much of a problem with him criticizing nagging.  As Driscoll said, he criticizes husbands, too.  In most relationships, people have to work on issues for the relationship to go well, and it can be irritating to men when their wives are continually nagging them.  That doesn’t mean that all wives nag.  It just means that nagging may be something to work on in a relationship.  But I’m just saying this based on my own understanding of what Driscoll said.

On Driscoll’s comments about rebellious evangelicals who do word studies, I do find that to be anti-intellectual.  Or, if you don’t care for intellectuals and see them as snobs, let me say that I find Driscoll’s comment to be anti-learning.  How’s that?  I am leery when pastors juxtapose an emphasis on authority with a discouragement of learning.  That turns me off from organized religion.

As far as the sermon as a whole went, it had some good stuff.  Driscoll talked about love and commitment within marriage.  He said that people should love their spouse rather than wanting to get married for companionship or sex.  And he said that complementarianism does not assume that women lack minds of their own, for he affirmed that his wife has disagreed with him through the years, and that he wants for his daughters to grow up to become confident women.

The thing is, what sounds all right to me may not sound all right to a number of other people.  I was one time in a Bible study group, and the leader was a complementarian.  The leader said continually that the husband should love and serve his wife.  That sounded good to me!  Why have equality, when the husband is taking into consideration his wife’s feelings and needs and is loving and serving her?  But that didn’t sound quite right to an atheist friend of mine.  My atheist friend said that sounded like a benevolent dictatorship!

Complementarianism may sound all right to me, a man.  But suppose I were a woman?  I know there are a number of women who are complementarians, so I’m not sure what my stance would be if I were a woman.  I can picture myself leaning towards the egalitarian position.  I’m all for being cooperative with people and open to their ideas and opinions, and even to serving them.  But saying that the man has authority over me and that what he says goes (remember, this is if I were a woman, which I’m not)?  I’d have problems with that.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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