Grace and Mark Driscoll Write a How-Not-To Book on Marriage December 24, 2011

Grace and Mark Driscoll Write a How-Not-To Book on Marriage

Are you “single?… Seeing someone and contemplating marriage?… Newly married and still filled with wedded bliss?… A parent or grandparent concerned for the marriage of your child or grandchild? Divorced…?”

Are you any of those things and in need of some new reading material come January 3rd? If so, I have the perfect thing for you to not purchase: Mark and Grace Driscoll’s new book, Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together. (A preview of the first chapter of the book is available here.)

At the outset, the endeavor seems noble: A book, written by folks who want to share the wisdom they have gleaned through a long marriage filled with some difficult moments. At the heart of it, the problem I have with Real Marriage is the same problem I have with much of Driscoll’s theology — lies are much more difficult to pinpoint when they are mixed with truth. While it is good to have the desire to help others achieve healthy relationships, the belief system that lies quietly beneath the book is fundamentally misogynistic and damaging.

Like any good Christian book, this one starts with a redemption story. (No self-respecting Christian will attempt to sell you Jesus without telling you how sorry a person they were before Him.) With that in mind, the worse your “before” is, the better, since it will demonstrate such a stunning contrast to your current, “Godly” lifestyle. The Driscolls are no exception; the first chapter is devoted to the muddy mess of a marriage that they nursed before entering restructuring it “God’s way” (page 8).

Of course, having a struggling relationship is not a criticism of the couple; every relationship has its challenges, and I don’t think for a minute that any reality-based individual would conflate lack of conflict or difficulty in a relationship with success. However, I’m not about to write a marital advice book, either. Simply being a married person does not qualify you to give advice about marriage and relationships. I don’t perform tonsillectomies, even though I’ve experienced one. I’ll leave the delicate work of hacking out body parts to the people qualified to wield the scalpel.

Even though Mark Driscoll attests that the key to marriage lies within a Biblical framework, he fails to see that his own religion caused many of his marital issues.

Driscoll explains that neither he nor his wife were virgins before meeting in high school. The book is suspiciously quiet on the early part of the their relationship, with only a few sentences devoted to the admission, leaving a bit of room to speculate as to the lack of negative effects felt early on. Though premarital sex is a sticking point for many Christians, there is no mention of any negative effects felt or their relationship suffering at the time. It’s almost like the premarital sex didn’t impact their relationship until they tried to rationalize problems later on.

Ironically, things take a turn for the worse once Mark finds Jesus. Or, rather, began attending a church of his own volition for the first time (emphases mine):

“It was there I began learning about sex and marriage from the Bible. The pastor seemed to really love his wife, and they had a faithful and fun marriage. The previous church I had attended was Catholic, with a priest who seemed to be a gay alcoholic. He was the last person on earth I wanted to be like. To a young man, a life of poverty, celibacy, living at the church, and wearing a dress was more frightful than going to hell, so I stopped going to church somewhere around junior high. But this pastor was different. He had been in the military, had earned a few advanced degrees, and was smart. He was humble. He bow hunted. He had sex with his wife. He knew the Bible. He was not religious.

In that church I met other men who were very godly and masculine. There were farmers who loved Jesus, hunters who loved Jesus, and even one guy who was on his way to having eleven daughters and two sons with one wife. They had a beautiful family and sometimes invited Grace and me over for dinner. I had never seen a family pray the way they did, sing together, and pretty much just laugh and have fun. Watching that family, I learned about the importance of a dad praying and playing with his kids, reading the Bible to them, and teaching them to repent of their sin to one another and forgive others when sinned against. It was incredible. Before long, Grace and I were volunteering our Friday nights to babysit for free so they could get a date night.” (p. 8-9)

After learning from this humble, bow-hunting, sex-having, Bible-knowing-yet-not-religious pastor, Mark and Grace decided to stop having sex. But not having sex was no fun, so they got married between their junior and senior year of college.

Unfortunately, Mark assumed that the doctrine of fornication as a sin would have no impact on their relationship:

“I assumed that once we were married we would simply pick up where we left off sexually and make up for lost time. After all, we were committed Christians with a relationship done God’s way.

But God’s way was a total bummer. My previously free and fun girlfriend was suddenly my frigid and fearful wife. She did not undress in front of me, required the lights to be off on the rare occasions we were intimate, checked out during sex, and experienced a lot of physical discomfort because she was tense.” (p. 9)

Instead of realizing that perhaps there may be — just an outside chance! -– that “God’s way” might not be as solid a plan as they had imagined, they instead persisted for a decade, elaborately erecting the perfect-marriage façade in order to save face in the ministry.

Grace has this to say about that time:

Communication was at an all-time low, as was our intimacy, and we became unable to serve each other without demanding something in return. We dealt with conflict very differently: he chose harsh words, and I chose silence. We both chose bitterness. As you can imagine, nothing really got resolved. Fear, lies, busyness, and discontentment all kept us from intimacy.” (p. 14)

Did you see anything about any supernatural causes to their marital problems in that paragraph? No? Neither did I. Again, the issue here has nothing to do with anything “spiritual” in nature, even if that word had any meaning. These are human problems that were solved -– or are being solved -– by human actions. Nothing more, nothing less.

Maybe you’re wondering if there was more to the sudden change in Grace Driscoll’s sexual behavior. Turns out there is. (Moreover, you have significantly more observational powers than the man who spent ten years whining about his sexual dissatisfaction with her.) Bear in mind that, in addition to having the message drilled in her that sex was bad and must be approached with deliberation and “purity” of heart and mind, there was the added pressure of performance in Christian culture to “look the part” of the healthy, holy husband and wife. I cannot imagine the guilt and shame she must have carried that decade.

Finally, things reached a boiling point.

Mark Driscoll recounts the scenario:

“One night, as we approached the birth of our first child, Ashley, and the launch of our church, I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core. [Mark Driscoll claims to be a recipient of the “gift of discernment”, where God literally provides him with seedy visions of other Christian’s sin. See also: “charismatic authority”.]  I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating. It was so clear it was like watching a film — something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelation I sometimes receive. I awoke, threw up, and spent the rest of the night sitting on our couch, praying, hoping it was untrue, and waiting for her to wake up so I could ask her. I asked her if it was true, fearing the answer. Yes, she confessed, it was. Grace started weeping and trying to apologize for lying to me, but I honestly don’t remember the details of the conversation, as I was shell-shocked. Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her.” (p. 11-12)

This is the part of the blog post that I have been having trouble writing. In short, Mark Driscoll shamed and guilted his pregnant wife for “crimes” that happened in high school.

Ponder that, for a moment, and consider her version of the story:

“A bomb had just dropped, and shrapnel was everywhere! Dear Lord, how could I have done this to You and my husband? How could I have acted like such a good person with such darkness in my heart? How can I ever make up for what I have done? Mark wished he hadn’t married me; I wished I hadn’t ever lied. I was pregnant and he felt trapped. I begged forgiveness but told him he had every right to leave. He felt completely stuck; I felt total shame.” (p.12)

There is something deeply morally incoherent about an individual who professes to adhere to a higher moral authority while feeling that he has a right to leave his pregnant wife. Moreover, she has also bought in to the same garbage –- her worth lies in her purity, and not disclosing sexual “crimes” is worthy of punishment and abandonment.

Of course, the problem lies in the fact that there is nothing that you can do when your lack of purity is exposed; there is no apology great enough to satisfy a Christian man who demands both submission and purity, as a lie of omission is a flagrant violation of both.

Additionally, there is a greater burden on her to “repent,” if the assumption is that she has violated his rights as a husband.

The book, in a final attempt to exhaust the reader and make them abandon all hope for mankind — and we’re still in Chapter 1 — releases the final gem on the Driscoll’s marital shit-crown:

“Then, after more than a decade of marriage, a root issue was finally revealed. Grace’s problem was that she was an assault victim who had never told me or anyone else of the physical, spiritual, emotional, and sexual abuse she had suffered. Hearing the details of her abuse broke me. Reliving her pain with her as we worked things through was healing. Yes, it hurt deeply. But at least the hurt was from a surgery that would cut out the cancer. In forgiving and walking with Grace, I realized that I was so overbearing and boorish, so angry and harsh, that I had not been the kind of husband whom she could trust and confide in with the most painful and shameful parts of her past. I was world-class at truth telling, but my words would tear her down rather than build her up. I spoke to her more as I would to a sinful guy, but where men stood up to my challenges, she fell down. My bitterness had continued to condemn Grace, and she kept shutting down more.” (p. 16)

(I know, I know. I’m sure the incorrect usage of “whom” in that sentence deeply troubled you as well.)

Perhaps — just maybe — if either person had approached the other as equals, as partners, instead of cogs in the Jesus machine…

And, finally, if you haven’t already been convinced as to the effectiveness of Biblical marriage, we arrive at the conclusion. Mark explains what happened after Grace’s admission that she was assaulted:

“I refused to die from stress or destroy my marriage and family for the sake of “religious” people and outgrown organizational systems. I found a good doctor and did what I was told to rebuild my health. Grace and I pulled back from many commitments, got some help, including someone to help her one day a week and someone else to clean the house every other week, and carved out some time to intentionally work on our relationship with Jesus and each other.” (p. 17)

Surprisingly, Mark Driscoll and I agree on something. I, too, refuse to destroy my marriage for the sake of “religious” people who insist that marital problems are spiritual problems, “religious” people who insist that gender roles must be so strictly enforced that they prevent communication, “religious” people who feel they have a right to punish each other according to how well they think they are conforming to some imaginary set of marital rules inspired by an unmarried itinerant preacher, “religious” people who ensure that women bear guilt for something called “sexual sin” while men are exempted.

No indeed — I will not be destroying my marriage for the sake of religious people. After reading this trash… would you?

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  • Wait. Maybe I’m misunderstanding. She divulges that she was sexually assaulted and he still thinks her past is “shameful” and that her “purity” has been compromised? Because that is completely repugnant, even within bizarro Xtian patriarchal marriage.

    I feel like I need to go scrub out my brainpan.

  • That is a “real marriage”?  Egads. 

  • Johannsone

    I read the first excerpt and I nearly barfed. His wife is repugnant because he ‘visioned’ her having a seedy premarital ‘orgy’ (my words)? I call dreams like that foreplay in my ‘mature’ marriage. Plus, I thought they were sexually active before marriage..only after that little truth would he have not married her??  He never considered it while he *thought* he was deflowering her?? And … ftw .. “marital shit crown” lol. do they come in silver or gold to mark anniversaries, because my 18th is coming up and I’m thinking…..a nice brass one would look good while my manly, sex loving, beer drinking, enjoyer of sports games and outdoor activities man is sitting on his throne and not prancing around like a gay alcoholic. 

  • Alyson

    Yeah, did I read that correctly? Did he have to FORCE himself to FORGIVE her for being raped?

  • Amanda, I found your post here very interesting and insightful (as I did your earlier post). I agree that Driscoll’s masculine emphasis on Christianity is a dangerous thing.

  • lusy

    To be fair to the guy, the “sexual sin” apparently took place after they started dating. (Maybe – the excerpt doesn’t really make it clear whether that happened in real life, or if it was just the dream, or if the “sexual sin” was her being sexually assaulted on the school trip.) If the incident really had taken place after they started dating, I can’t really blame him for getting pissed that she cheated on him. 

  • Amy

    I am exhausted after reading about that marriage.

  • Dan

    It sounds like the “sin” was her being sexual assaulted. If so, that makes Driscoll one of the most cowardly and disgusting individuals I’ve heard of. What uncaring and misogynist idiot would think that his wife being assaulted was principally a sin against himself because he wasn’t told, or that he wouldn’t have married her because she wasn’t pure enough because she was assaulted? That’s exactly the kind of view of women that leads to honor killings in the Middle Eat.

  • lusy

    The way I read it, the order of events was:

    1. Husband dreams his wife cheated on him.
    2.  Husband asks wife if his dream had any basis in reality, wife confirms that she did cheat on him.
    3. Many years later, husband discovers that his wife had a history of abuse, at which point he realises that his actions have made it harder for her to open up to him about it.4. Husband makes an honest effort to change the way he relates with his wife.At no point in the story is it made clear whether or not the cheating incident was sexual assault or not. It could be, or it couldn’t be. It could even be a situation where it was coercive rape, but the wife at no point recognised it as “real” rape (with the history of abuse, this last possibility wouldn’t really surprise me). The thing is, though, if the wife didn’t recognise it as a “proper” rape, and related the story to her husband as though it were consensual, then I can’t really fault him for getting angry with her, even if it were rape – for all he knows, it was consensual adultery. 

    Having just read the first chapter, I see plenty of other issues with the book, but I really don’t think that this particular anecdote is one of them.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    She had sex with another man before getting married. Is that such a big deal?

  • Now, I can’t say for sure, because I haven’t read the book (and it’s clear that you’ve read at least the first chapter), but this:

    “Hearing the details of her abuse broke me. Reliving her pain with her as we worked things through was healing. … In FORGIVING and walking with Grace, …” (emphasis added)

    sure sounds to me like he had to “forgive” her for being a sexual abuse survivor. Does the chapter expand upon the anecdote in a way that undermines my interpretation?

    But, yes, you’re right. Just (possibly) one amongst a myriad of huge(!) problems.

  • Dan

    One of the problems I have with Driscoll is all his tall-tales about his spiritual gifts, which you get a hint of here. In his sermons he brags all the time about his spiritual gifts (he seems to have them all) and from his stories they work better than anyone else I’ve known who claimed to have the gifts. I used to be a real fan of his when I was a Christian, and really got turned off by his misogynistic views on women and ‘real manliness’, and his stories about seeing demons, and witnessing people who were possessed levitating and there heads turnings around 360 degrees. I’m not sure if he is a liar or if he is fooling himself, but either way it’s embarrassing that I was a fan of his for several years, despite the fact that he seems to think The Exorcist was a documentary and that he has physic powers and can tell the past and future from dreams.

  • lusy

    Read it again. He didn’t find out that she had ever been sexually assaulted until after they’d been married for more than a decade. He’s at fault for not making himself emotionally available so his wife could tell him of her issues earlier, but from everything the book says, he did not know that the incident was sexual assault at the time he was angry with her.

    And to me, “physical, spiritual, emotional and sexual abuse” doesn’t actually sound like a one-off incident like the cheating. It is at no point confirmed that the incident in question WAS non-consensual for his wife. It very well could be, but since he had no way of knowing it was sexual assault at the time, I really can’t see how it’s fair to blame him* for getting angry about it.

    Later on in the chapter, when he describes discovering his wife’s history of abuse, he not only doesn’t blame her, but also quite fairly criticises himself for not being the kind of husband she could trust with such secrets. Of course, the way he describes his mistake is quite sexist in its own right, but it’s not actually pinning any blame on Grace for being assaulted, which is what you guys are accusing him of.

    I find it far more disturbing that he got angry at his wife for calling her parents “my family”. That’s just plain creepy.

    *Ignoring for a second, the failure on his part to be the kind of supporting husband who his wife would feel open talking to – which is a mistake he admitted to anyway.

  • lusy

    She had sex with another man after they had started dating. He at no time attacked her for the sex she had before they started going out. Merely for the one incident that occurred AFTER THEY WERE A COUPLE. I would definitely have second thoughts about marrying a guy if I knew that he’d cheated on me too. 

  • lusy

    Hmm… I read that as his discovery of Grace’s history of sexual abuse being the catalyst that allowed him to forgive her for cheating on him. 

    The whole anecdote isn’t very well written, to be honest. I think it’s easy to see how one could interpret that any old way. He does make it clear in the chapter that he stayed bitter about the incident for quite some time, so my interpretation does stand up… on the other hand, so could a whole pile of different interpretations for way he phrased that. 

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like Mark thought she was cheating on him during their dating relationship.  But to make a big deal of it many years later, is pretty warped.  I don’t know what is going on about the rape, among other possibilities, it could be real and not reported sooner, and it could consensual but later reimagined as rape, for the same reason: religious shame.

  • lusy

    Hmm… re-reading the chapter, it seems to me that the real smoking gun for his opinion of sexual assault isn’t actually in the anecdote about his wife, but rather the final sentence of the chapter: 

    “And if you have unconfessed sin and/or a past of sexual sin, including pornography, fornication, sexual abuse, bitterness, and the like, we pray this book leads to the healing of your soul and your marriage. ”

    Now, the idea that one should tell one’s partner about these things is a sound one. I also like the way he includes bitterness as a part of sexual sin, since that is something that can be absolutely toxic to a relationship. The problem lies in the fact that he included sexual abuse under the label of “sexual sin”. That sentence IS basically saying that being a victim of abuse is a sin.

    It’s quite sad to read, actually. He sounds like a fundamentally decent man who loves and is committed to his wife, and who is willing to put effort in on his own part to work through issues – even during the worst period of their marriage, they kept a date night every week, which to me sounds like quite a good idea. However at the same time, the whole chapter reeks of all these sexist issues (and possible closeted homosexuality, given how he seemed to react to all those men who were “godly and masculine”). 

  • Dan

    Your interpretation is not at all clear from these excerpts. It seems that one of the things he forgave her for was for being assaulted, but Driscoll’s writing is unclear (as I found his other books to be as well). Have you read the book?

  • lusy

    No. Just the first chapter, which was linked at the end of the second paragraph of the blog post. 

  • Dan

    Well, that isn’t clear from these excerpts. And even in your earlier post you say that he calls it a sin to be a victim of sexual assault, and he says he forgave her for being abused, like it was her fault. I do know that in his sermons he callously says that being sexual assaulted makes many women become demon possessed, which explains their resulting “behavior.”

    I am very familiar with Driscoll; I listened to hundreds of his sermons, read several of his books, and was a huge fan when I was a Christian until I was slowly disillusioned, and I really have to disagree with your characterization of him as a decent human being. If you read his books and listen to his sermons I believe you’ll find him clearly a misogynistic, pompous, controlling, and homophobic hipster who has a really bad habit of twisting history, science, sociology, and theology whenever it suits his needs (just read his books Doctrine).

  • Dan

    You might be right, like I said I find his writing very muddled, but I do know he holds to a very repressive, patriarchal type of Christianity, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he does see sexual abused wives as sinners who need to seek forgiveness from their husbands for not being ‘pure’ enough.

  • lusy

    That “earlier post” was actually a later post that the board software somehow decided to put up there instead of down the bottom like it should. 

    I think that the bit where it says that he forgives her is ambiguous as to what it refers to. It seems to me to be a generic “forgave her for what he felt needed forgiving” and taking the anecdote in isolation, there’s nothing either confirming or denying that he required forgiveness for the fact that she was abused. 

    I’ll take your word for it about his other sermons. I’ve never heard of this guy before tonight, so I only have the first chapter of this book to go on, and I think the way it was written is pretty much in line with my judgement. If you say he’s much more extreme in other stuff, I’ll retract my statement. The writing of that chapter, though, just makes him sound sad. 

  • Anonymous

    Hold up, is she a victim/survivor of sexual assault, or did she have consensual sex that her husband decided was assault because women don’t have sex drives (DUH!) and she must not have wanted it? If she is actually a victim of abuse, that’s one thing (and I’m very sorry to her, of course), but if that’s how her husband has to rationalize her sexual history in order to “forgive” her, that’s entirely different and makes this whole thing even more icktastic, because that would represent a fundamental misunderstanding of what sexual assault actually is. (Obviously if all of her past sexual encounters were coercive, which is possible, that would constitute abuse…but I’m not clear on what actually happened. I think I’ll have to read the first chapter.)

  • lusy

    I wonder if the writing is deliberately muddled so that anyone reading it can fill in the blanks so that it matches their own situation better. 

    I’m reading it from the point of view of someone who doesn’t know anything about the form of Christianity he holds. Perhaps knowing more about his character makes people interpret his story in a different way. 

  • ACN

    Wow. What the fucking fuck fuck.

    Just when you think you can’t despise a person any more, Mark Driscoll delivers.

  • lusy

    This is a very good point. 

  • Anonymous

    Also, in the first chapter (p. 7), it’s really upsetting to read that he
    encountered a drunk, crying sorority girl who was, in all likelihood,
    sexually assaulted, and decided to walk her home rather than get her
    actual help from the police or a doctor. Even if he didn’t really know
    what the right thing to do was then (he was 19 or so, so that would be
    understandable, and it’s admirable that he tried to do something to help
    her), I sure as hell hope he knows that by now, and is smart enough to
    realize that may very well have been raped (maybe my expectations are
    too high, but I would have hoped that he’d say “I realize now that she
    had likely been assaulted by one of my fraternity brothers”).  The conclusion this is leading to is that this man decidedly does not understand what sexual assault is, and that he’s not really all that sympathetic toward people who are assaulted. I hope that isn’t true, especially if his wife truly is a survivor or sexual assault, but that’s certainly what I’m getting out of reading it so far.

  • Bryan

    “…who ensure that women bear guilt for something called “sexual sin” while men are exempted.”

    One small thing; I would say that men are NOT exempted from sexual guilt.  Just look at the Christian culture of manliness that says you are a horrible, no good, disgusting, evil, horrible person if you glance at a lovely gam (that’s a leg for all you whippersnappers) in the supermarket.

    And look at how damaging it is (for both men and women) to be told constantly that people are no good unless they’re still in the blister packaging.  It’s an all-around shit carousel, and nobody seems to know how to get off.

  • My take is that the woman in this relationship was searching desperately for why she was at fault for the crappy relationship she was in, admitted to some sort of an encounter with another guy [might have been only a kiss for all I know], and managed to take all the blame and shame onto her own self.  

    The only way for her to get out of this conundrum is to now say she was sexually abused or assaulted in some way.  The story evolves over time, I think.  She is at fault for her crappy sexuality in her marriage.  This is important.  One cannot really blame the husband or god or Jesus or this bizarre religious attitude that women are not supposed to be sexual but they darn well better turn it on and please their husbands no matter what once they are married.

    She may well have been a victim of some sort of sexual abuse or assault but on the other hand she clearly is the victim of her religion and the attitudes projected on her by her “godly” husband.

  • Anonymous

    The guy is a sociopathic, batshit insane nutjob. His views on sexuality and gender are twisted and crazy. He has some serious issues with women and traits he perceives to me feminine in men.

    Driscoll only seems sane and maybe moderate to some because he isn’t a fire and brimstone preacher. I guess that’s why he has this kind of mainstream appeal. But what he teaches is the same inhuman nonsense as any other fundamentalist. It’s just packaged more nicely

    You can get that just from reading some his blog posts

  • Dan

    You certainly may be right about how to interpret this book portion, perhaps I’m being unfair because I’m familiar with his other stuff. I was raised in churches that taught home-schooling through high-school, young-earth creationism, a strict literal interpretation of the Bible, and that women should stay at home and submit to their husbands authority. Driscoll is very popular in those churches (although a lot of them disagree with him on alcohol in moderation being OK). He’s much more liberal in how he approaches witnessing (he really tries to be trendy and not sound as bigoted as other fundamentalists), but his doctrine is old-school fundamentalist. He is a huge fan of the Puritans,  loves John Calvin’s view of the world, and thinks he is blessed with just about every spiritual gift (except for the gift of hospitality, that seems a bit to feminine for him). His hangup on demon possession, especially as a result of sexual abuse, is bizarre, as is his claims that Freemasonary is demonic and practices child rape in their ceremonies.

  • Anonymous

    If you (correctly) inferred his internal homophobia just from that – you should read some of the other stuff he wrote. He has a blog and wrote whole posts just about that. It’s really very obvious.

    But he isn’t a decent person. Driscoll sounds reasonable and he isn’t outright insulting like some preachers, but make no mistake: he is insane

  • Anonymous

    But the blame is still placed on the women for dressing provocatively and tempting the men.

  • Semipermeable

    Another telling quotation at the end of the page in the preface; 
    “If it’s rooted in biblical wisdom, keep trying until it works or you die” ( Driscoll xi).

    Well honey, we’ve been trying this for 10 years, how could an ancient text possible be wrong? Guess we’ll die miserable.

  • Zuzmara

    That quote about “godly and masculine men” reminded me of another quote from Driscoll:

    “Pastor” Mark Driscoll says that men need to stop masturbating because
    it’s a kind of homosexuality. In a booklet titled Porn-Again Christian: A
    Frank Discussion on Pornography & Masturbation for God’s Men,
    Driscoll of the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church says, “First,
    masturbation can be a form of homosexuality because it is a sexual act
    that does not involve a woman. If a man were to masturbate while engaged
    in other forms of sexual intimacy with his wife then he would not be
    doing so in a homosexual way. However, any man who does so without his
    wife in the room is bordering on homosexual activity, particularly if
    he’s watching himself in a mirror and being turned on by his own male

  • Secret Agent Woman

    Wow, it’s hard to imagine how a woman could be “free” and “fun” in bed within the context of a system that is loaded with talk of fornication and sin.  In the first chapter, Driscoll says that his wife had” punished” him with “years of sexual and emotional denial.”  And as a result he “became more chauvinistic.”  What a guy.  He knew she was fearful and that sex was physically painful, but all he can talk about is his bitterness.  If sex hurts a woman, there is a serious problem there.   So, you take a woman with an abuse history who has managed to get to adulthood still thinking sex can be fun, hammer her with sex-is-sinful beliefs and then sit around bitter and baffled because now she’s withdrawn?

    I was also struck by the passage in which she comes home with a “mommish” haircut and he reduces her to tears because she “has put a mom’s need for convenience before being a wife.”  How dare she?  What sort of woman bears her husband’s children and then has the gall to try to make adjustments in her daily routine around those children. Sinner! From my perspective as a psychologist, the sort of belief system outlined in this book makes my work much, much harder.  These people are NOT qualified to counsel couples and they are proposing a screwed-up, non-egalitarian marriage that is damaging to all concerned.  I feel sorry for anyone who reads the book looking for guidance.  And sorrier still for any woman unfortunate enough to be suckered in.

  • TheRealVeon

    I’m not sure what the problem with “whom” is. Perhaps you would prefer it to be “in whom”. It certainly shouldn’t be “who” since “she” is already the subject of the dependent clause.

  • Marylynne7

    What – really?  Seriously?   That is freaked up.    If my husband were to masturbate while engaged in other forms of sexual intimacy with his wife, I’d be pissed.  Yo, buddy, I’m right here!    I’ll take care of that.  Masturbation is for when I’m NOT here.   

    So homosexuality is now any sex act that doesn’t involve the opposite gender?  How does it benefit them to broaden the definition of gay to a ridiculous degree?  

  • M G

    “eleven daughters and two sons with one wife.”

    Girl girl girl girl girl girl girl girl girl girl girl HEIR SPARE STOP. Either that or her uterus fell out.

  • Bryan

    True, and that in and of itself is pretty damn unjust and offensive, but it’s also horribly unjust and offensive to say that men are all slavering lusters who can’t help but sinfully ogle women all the time. Anyway, now this is beyond the scope of the original post, but I just wanted to point out that shit like this harms EVERYBODY; men aren’t exempt.

  • Xianity, all about making people feel worthless because their sexuality doesn’t meet with Paul’s approval.

    It’s all about control of the naughty bits. “Be Fruitful, and Multiply” may have been good advice in the days of a small desert tribe with a high rate of infant mortality, but today? With a world population in excess of 6 billion?

    Legalize, regulate, and tax prostitution. Require insurance companies to pay for contraception, and yes, that includes “plan B”, and yes, make it available w/o prescription to younger women. Why is a 14-y-o any better equipped to handle an unplanned pregnancy than a 30-y-o? Your “religion” prohibits you from filling that prescription? Fine, get out of the pharmacy business and hit the tour circuit whining to Pat Robertson about how you were “persecuted” for your faith. Require insurance companies to pay for ED medications, They already pay for HRT for women who aren’t ready to say “T-t-t-that’s ALL, Folks”, why should men be left out?

    De-stigmatize human sexuality. Anything consensual between 2 adults should be nobody’s business but the participants. Or their subscribers, if they’re doing it for public consumption.

  • That sounds pretty terrible, but I guess Mark is offering his marriage as an example of how not to do it?

  • Anonymous

    Man, I knew Driscoll was an asshole, but I had no idea he was this much of an asshole. Here’s hoping his wife someday comes to her senses and divorces his emotionally abusive ass. I hope like hell he doesn’t have any daughters, because something tells me their sense of self-worth will be subterranean.

  • jon

    As a recent deconvert it’s really easy (and funny) to bash on a psychotic-neo-calvanist like driscoll BUT my question is: are there any books on the subject matter from a humanist prospective?

    It just sucks that every book on maintaining a happy marriage seems to belong in a christian book store.

  • And I feel grateful that at least our modern psychological profession shares your values rather than theirs! Keep on helping.

  • What bothers me most about this drivel is
    a) its getting published in the first place. No telling which unsuspecting pair of teens or twenty-somethings picks this up and tries to apply it to their life as a married couple.
    b) the idea that some people still believe that xtianity still has anything even remotely useful to say about sexuality, intimacy and marriage, as in the plan proposed by Mississippi to involve churches in an effort to get the teen birth rate under control…

  • Salty

    Of course there are!  Look around…… one of the most helpful books I’ve come across for improving awareness and communication in any relationship is ‘Nonviolent Communication’  by Marshall Rosenthal (I think that name is right?)….. it’s not specifically for marriage relationships, it helped me in my personal relationships, and I’m a therapist.  

  • “I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating.”

    What a pile of steaming….

    Here is my guess: He either knew all along what happened on the trip. Most likely he heard rumors but at the time he might have thought of it as good news: “well if she gave it away so easily I am going to get lucky too”.

    Teenage boys really do think like that and they do it most of their waking hours.

    Then years later is passing that as some sort of X-men type power he got from god. 


  • Steve

    How in the name of “God” can he call having been sexually abused a  sin? this guy is sick. He seems to spend a lot of time figuring out how to make his guilt and his rather strange take on sexuality, seem like a positive thing. The thing that really frosts me is he is probably making a big 6-figure salary spreading his illness around.

  • “How does it benefit them to broaden the definition of gay to a ridiculous degree?”

    More sin, more guilt, more bums on pews, more tithes.

  • Erm, insurance already DOES cover meds for ED. But they fight against covering things like birth control….

  • Missteacher2u

    Then EVERYONE is homosexual because masturbation is a natural part of human sexuality and despite some people not admitting to it…everyone does it or has done it at some point in time.

  • Technically, that just makes all you “straight” folks bisexual. Which isn’t a bad thing.

  • Anonymous

    Mark Driscoll is a shit stain on humanity’s underwear.

  • Drsicollphobe

    I guess I’ve been gay this whole time without knowing it; I love me a good pump n’ preen. 🙂

  • Even when I went to a Protestant school growing up, I didn’t understand why I would ever want a ‘traditional’ Christian marriage. Yes, there were some Christian couples who were happy, but I didn’t like the whole ‘wife and mother’ shtick because I really, really wanted to be a doctor. Young Christians are also taught the number 1 trait in a future partner should be that they’re a devout Christian, too. I’m not kidding you. Following Christianity is more important than a host of other issues (personality, for starters) that should determine who you marry.  This piece red like a nightmare window into a world I could be inhabiting if I didn’t leave religion.

  • Secret Agent Woman


  • Ellyzahm

    Is he saying being a victim of sexual abuse is a sin, or committing sexual abuse is a sin?  I think it’s the latter he is referring to.

    Having said that, just reading about this book gives me the creeps.

  • Tbjandrew

    Well said lusy! The guy’s a jackass but I read it same way as you. I’d be gutted to know my wife had cheated on me before we were married, regardless of how long ago that was, so I can’t fault him too much for being angry on that count – I think that’s the ‘sexual sin’ that he was upset about, while the abuse was something that happened before then.

    Dan, be careful not to charicature him in the worst possible way all the time, or you’re really no better than he is. He may well be repressive and chauvinistic, but there’s no way that he understands sexual abuse to be a sin on the part of the abused…

  • frieda

    I don’t think the “cheating” episode is the same thing as the abuse.
    But back up the truck here. Her “cheating” occurred when she was what, 17, 18?

    Anybody else here do things at that age they may not do later in life? Heck, at that age I was regularly in love with 4 guys at a time.  I had a teenage girl’s garden variety self-esteem issues, and God only knows what might have happened, given the right circumstances.

     They’d just begun dating, Driscoll says,and a girl who —  we now know, had her boundaries violated at some time prior — fooled around on him.

    The right response might have been:  eye rolling, perhaps? A smirk and a head shake. Then it should have been OVER.  

    They were how old when this story finally dribbles out? And expecting a child, no less.  No sign that she was truly in love with whoever she fooled around with at teen sleepover camp. This is old business, but Driscoll is mad about it. Sorry, but Driscoll creeps me out.  Deeply.

    I can’t spell “pathological” fast enough when his name comes up.

  • Where do you get this stuff? Neither Driscoll says she cheated on him. They just say it was a “sexual sin.” In the world of Driscoll, this could mean she rubbed one out.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a blog dedicated to fact checking Pastor Mark. Found a few issues.

  • shonkin

    I’m a Christian — one of those odd Evangelicals who vote Democratic and who think women can and should preach and teach alongside men. Not that such beliefs will help you Atheists to wise up (joke!).

    Mark Driscoll’s teaching on women, period, are where the problems in your discussion are rooted. He belittles and shames men who are “stay at home dads” — he claims the man’s only role is that of being “provider” and leader of the home (chest thumping anyone)? It is all in the videos of his on youtube.

    I am so deeply saddened at his version of Christianity I can hardly express it. I have friends who were raped, others who mocked as being gay due to their more masculine (women) or feminine (men) outer appearance. All those people are deeply, deeply damaged by the sort of teaching that Driscoll (and his mentor John Piper and others) toss out to the American Church.

    I hope that as Atheists when you interact with folk of faith, you find at least some who have more than this cartoonish version of what rather ought to be a many-faceted, beautiful, and complex set of beliefs. (Note I won’t argue truth here as I’m not here to evangelize — only here to say that Driscoll is reviled by more Evangelicals than you might think.)

    Thanks for posting the review. It was one of the best I was able to find on the book, which I’ve not read entire but have read bits of — as well as having a friend so distraught over it she won’t even discuss the thing.

  • Magnostic

    What is up with men like that who expect their wives to be the virgin Mary and good in bed at the same time?  He was not so “pure” either yet there is no talk of him asking for Grace’s forgiveness…Maybe I am just a heathen, but I think there’s something to be said for 2 adults entering into a committed relationship only after they have experienced life and other people. 

  • Dan, I’m really sorry that this guy was your exposure to Christianity.  If I were to base my faith and beliefs of what’s “right” and “wrong” on his teachings, I’d probably be atheist, too.

    As it is, though, I’m a Christ-follower – one of those who believes egalitarian marriages are still Bible-based, who believes that Jesus died for everyone who’s sinned (all of us) and that we are called to love everyone.  Putting people down, misogyny, homophobia, bullying-type language, judgemental remarks and hypocritical condemnations do NOT demonstrate that love.  In this respect, I agree with most everyone here that Driscoll is an ass (one loved by God – haha) and the attitudes he espouses fall far left of what God would have him as a church leader to show.

    My heart weeps over the things he says about his wife.  What happened to grace, forgiveness and mercy?  These basic, quite fundamental Christian traits seem to be missing from his faith walk.  It’s also sad to me how many here (and who knows how many others?) chose to turn from the faith because of how this guy has acted or what he’s said.  I promise you that not all of us are like that.  (Rachel H. Evans offers a review on this book from a feminist theologian’s perspective.  It’s really a good read, and she linked to this blog in hers.)

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Did he have to FORCE himself to FORGIVE her for being raped?

    Hey, at least he didn’t go straight to the Honor Killing!

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “Husband dreams his wife cheated on him.”

    I think it was a more than a dream.  Driscoll claims God shows him visions (usually of a sleazy sexual nature); for the record, I am skeptical of this.  (And I come from a religious tradition that acknowledges visions.)  I think Driscoll is sexually obsessed and his “visions” might be sexual fantasies or fears breaking through; either he is unaware of this (interpreting them as visions) or he doesn’t want to admit to it (consciously recasting them into something more Christianese).

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Driscoll is obviously Hypermasculine — defining “male” entirely in terms of power and prowess and firewalling this to the max.  (Interesting for a guy whose official picture looks like a Pillsbury doughboy in a Mickey Mouse T-shirt.)   And one of the things about hypermasculinity (and its accompanying downplay of anything feminine or female) is a love-hate thing with homosexuality, the most “Un-Manly” sex possible (at least if you’re the one on the bottom) yet purely “Masculine”.

    I wonder if Driscoll is still in High School in his head, trying to constantly prove to himself that he IS one of the Real Man Alpha Males? I’m pretty sure the guy is obsessed sexually, maybe even a male nymphomaniac, can’t admit it even to himself (much less get help) because of his CELEBRITY Megachurch Pastor position & perks and “Just Me & Jesus” Evangelical tradition, and one day his CELEBRITY preacher career is going to blow sky-high in some sort of sex scandal.  The guy shows every sign of heading for a train wreck.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Same rationale Extreme Islam has for the burqa and locked harem.

  • Charlotte

    My husband and very rarely have sex and I never enjoy it when we do because he insists on religious pure sex – including no contraception. It is very likely we won’t have sex at all 2012, given how little we had it in 2011. I love him, but had I known how awful it would be to be married to him, I don’t know that I would do it again.

  • You can go on birth control. You don’t need his permission, either, and with Depo, since it’s injected every 12-13 weeks, you don’t have to worry about him finding and tampering with it.

    Oh, fuck it — if you’re that miserable, just divorce his sorry ass. He’s not fulfilling his obligations to you.

  • Guest

    I wonder if the inclusion of sexual abuse in the list of sins is an fault of really bad editing. I can’t stand Driscoll, but I would never have pinned that argument on him. He does seem to say that once he knew about the sexual abuse in her past, he was able to forgive her for her sexual “sins” and their sexual difficulties. 

    Of course, that raises another issue: he couldn’t just forgive her for the issues and move on. He needed something to blame them on.

  • I think you’re giving Driscoll too much credit.
    No one comes to the conclusion that gods are fictional simply because one preacher is a big old meanie. Driscoll might be the reason that some people began to critically examine their faith, but the end result of abandoning Christianity (instead of just moving to a more liberal form of the religion) is surely due to what they learned and discovered in the process of that examination.

    I’m sure we all agree that Driscoll follows a particularly loathsome form of Christianity, but that doesn’t make the more benign forms true, or even morally acceptable. What does your own church teach? Does it support same-sex marriage? Does it ordain female clergy? Does it assert that people who don’t accept Christianity go to hell?

  • Our church is pretty moderate – far more liberal than some, much more conservative than others.  We agree on many things, but we’re not brainwashed into believing that everyone MUST believe all the same things in order to belong.  Ask a group of 50 people (about 1/10 of most Sundays’ attendance) questions on certain doctrines, whether biblical or man-made, and you’ll get 50 different responses.  So, that being said, what I’ll answer you is from Sara, not my church, my denomination or my faith tradition.

    Same-sex marriage hasn’t come up, but being that we’re Baptist, chances are it wouldn’t happen in our church.  Some Baptist preachers would perform the ceremony, but likely outside of the building so as not to offend more conservative-minded members, though more liberal Baptists will do same-sex church weddings (agree or not, it is what it is).  Our state will be voting on a ban to the same-sex marriage amendment.  While I prefer my hetero marriage, I’m also compassionate to those who choose same-sex partnerships and feel they should have the same rights I do.  Can you imagine being taken to the hospital in an emergency and your partner of 14 years isn’t allowed to be by your side because he/she isn’t your spouse?  That’s not right to me.  I also know and love some same-sex couples who I’d rather my daughters spend time with than some “devoutly pious” Christians.

    Our church believes that women are completely equal to men and should serve equally.  They can be ordained as deacons, preachers or missionaries (the three ordained positions in the Baptist church).

    Nope, our church does not believe that people who don’t accept Christianity will go to hell.  Christianity is a man-made faith tradition.  It does teach that those who reject Jesus Christ will go to hell.  However, after much spirited discussion, our small group believes that people who died without knowing Jesus will get a chance to do so after they die (i.e., that person down in the Brazilian rain forest who’s never heard of him).

    I’ve heard several atheists point to early experiences in the church as their reasons for rejecting it and God.  While I can see how this came to be through their lenses, from my perspective, it seems to be a warped syllogism.  (A)  The people in this church are hypocrites, corrupt, insincere.  (B)  I don’t wish to be a part of this church anymore.  Then (C) If the people at this church are like that, then God must be like that and I reject all of them.  That’s a big leap, equating very imperfect people with a perfect God, sinful people with a sinless God.  Yet, I can see how a young mind could reason it out like that, thinking, “The priest hurt me, and he’s supposed to be from God.  How could God allow this to happen?  There must not be a God.”  A LOT of atheists I know are very scientific-minded and cannot reconcile faith and science (the inexplicable with the explicable).  At the same time, it’s easy (though sad) to see how one or two bad church experiences could make one not want to try again.

  • Erp

    The problem of evil is one reason for a lack of belief in a god (though one could still believe in an all powerful, all knowing god who likes tormenting its creations) and experience within an organized religion might give one a close up with cruelty and cause people to start to question.

    A lack of a necessity for a god is a more common reason for atheism (whether discovered on one’s own or because one was never taught to believe in a god).   Conflicts between the common Christian (or Muslim or …) depiction of god and what we know from science and history is another reason to question though some people redefine god (quite often to the point that they get called atheists by their fellows even if they don’t take the term).  

    Some atheists are in Christian religious traditions such as the Quakers or Unitarian/Universalists (and some attend more standard denominations because they like the music [whether listening or performing] or  because the local group does the type of social services they want to be involved in and doesn’t ask too many questions).

  • Thank you for taking the time to respond, Sara. I’m glad that your church is not sexist and that it allows women into the clergy to serve in the same positions as men. Presumably, it also does not teach biblical submission or a “complementarian” role for women in marriage. That’s all great, and it’s certainly far better than what Mark Driscoll teaches.

    However (leaving questions of truth aside), I still do not find your religion morally acceptable. If your church doesn’t perform or recognize same-sex marriages, then I consider that biased. I’m glad you personally feel that same-sex couples should have equal legal rights, but you can certainly see how your particular church environment would not feel welcoming to most same-sex families if they weren’t treated the same as other families in the congregation. While I know there are “welcoming and affirming” Baptists, it sounds like your particular church does not take that stand to avoid offending more conservative members. If no one’s preaching against homosexuality from the pulpit, it might be better than Mark Driscoll’s church, but that still doesn’t make it accepting. How would a married lesbian couple and their two children be received in your congregation? Would the children having two mothers be affirmed in Sunday School or youth group? If the answer is no, then your church is merely tacitly rather than overtly homophobic. Perhaps it’s better than Mars Hill, but at least Driscoll is direct about his non-acceptance of homosexuality.

    Far more troubling than the issue of homosexuality is your church’s assertion that those who do not accept Jesus go to hell. I find the concept of hell to be a sick, twisted, morally repugnant idea. No church that promotes hell-belief is moral in my book. The only versions of Christianity that I would find morally acceptable are those that have done away with the concept of a negative afterlife, not just for non-believers, but for anyone. Some of the more liberal Christians have rejected the concept of hell (UCC, Quakers, etc.) and embraced universalism. It still doesn’t make what they believe true, but at least I don’t find their  afterlife concept abhorrent.

    None of this is a reason to reject Christianity, though. When former Christians become atheists, they do so because they are convinced that Christianity is false and that gods do not exist. The point I was trying to make is that religious people (not just Christians) may become disillusioned with the religion of their upbringing, and that typically sparks a critical examination of what they were taught to believe. The final step of no longer believing in gods (not just your god, but any god) is the result of what they have learned about the history of their religion (reasons to doubt the holy books are true), science (naturalistic explanations for the universe, no empirical evidence of gods), sociology (cultural forces and religious pressures within groups), psychology (how childhood indoctrination works, the appeal of immortality), and so on.

  • samantha

    The Exorcist, although not a documentary, is based on true events.

  • samantha

    My question is why are a bunch of athiests so interested in a Christian book? I (a Christian wife and mother) stumbled upon this article, while searching for information about the Driscolls new book….I normally do not allow myself to get dragged into such ignorance, but this I could not resist. I have better, more important things to do than to look for futile ways to tear down someone elses beliefs.

  • What makes you think its futile?

  • Because the Driscolls’ advice hurts good people who deserve better. Especially women.

  • mel

    Oh good grief, none of you people even read the book. What a joke.

  • Because Mark Driscoll’s fundamentalist views are deeply sexist, misogynistic and homophobic, and they deserve to be called out, criticized, and condemned.

  • I’m actually a Christian (and a pastor, as it were), but I do recommend “Passionate Marriage” by  David Schnarch. Great premise, fairly humanistic (in the best sense of the word), and based on solid clinical experience.

    And I realize this doesn’t need to be said, but always stay away from this nonsense.

  • Mark Driscoll’s religion conforms with Orthodox Christianity and when I realized that truth in my own Christianity I stopped doing a “double book-keeping” and accept being pro-woman, egalitarian, and a feminist as part of our evolved human nature.  I rejected Christianity due to the type of ideas Driscoll promotes.

  • samantha

    Why reject Jesus because of Mark Driscoll?? If you don’t like him or agree with him…don’t read his material or listen to his sermons.
    Why are you people so vocally against this man and Christianity? He is not forcing his beliefs on you…you read the excerpt (not the whole book I’m sure as mel pointed out) on your own. If you are so sure that you are right, let it go move on go live life as you please….but, what if your not, right I mean.

  • samantha

    Then why waste your time reading his material? Oh I get it you athiests are trying to force your beliefs on the rest of us.
    His belief…my belief is in the Bible, and the Bible clearly states a mans place and a womans place. He is simply stating the facts. If you had read the entire book you would understand, maybe not agree, but understand.

  • Anonymous

    Pascal’s Wager? Really?

    You are wrong about him not forcing his beliefs on others. He doesn’t just exist in a vacuum. He has many followers who are harmed by his teachings and who then go out and harm other people. He is also an evangelical. Evangelicals don’t keep their beliefs to themselves. Spreading their nonsense is their highest duty in fact

  • samantha

    Because only God can change your heart.

  • samantha

    Everyone has the freedom and the right, to turn the channel, so to speak, whenever they like. We all choose what books to read and what websites to view. 
    Mark Driscoll teaches the Bible.
    I pray that Jesus will change your heart.

  • What a lovely abdication of responsibility.

    What are you doing commenting here? While I’m sure you’re welcome to do so, by doing so, you’re doing the same thing you’re accusing us of doing, meddling, but when pressed, you throw the responsibility back of Jesus.

    You want to know why we’re interested in books like these? Because people, in the name of a god they believe in, cause harm, and do it thinking its a virtue.

  • Anonymous

    Then why are you complaining up us complaining about him? We are just using this channel to exercise our rights. How about taking your own advice?

    Have fun talking to yourself

  • We all have freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Those are two of our most cherished freedoms. However, when someone puts their views out in the public sphere (by writing a book), people have the right to respond to those views. Their views should not be considered immune from criticism.

    I’m sure you also express your disagreement when you come across someone who says something that you believe to be wrong. That’s not forcing your beliefs on anyone else. It’s expressing an opinion. I have no desire to force you to adopt my views. I only think that people who disagree with Mark Driscoll should feel free to condemn the kinds of things he promotes.

    The answer to offensive speech is not less speech – it’s more speech. We’re not trying to shut Driscoll up. He can say whatever he wants, but those of us who believe his speech is harmful have the right (and IMO, a responsibility) to speak out against it. Just like you have the right to come here and express your support for the man and his views. We’re not trying to take away your right to free speech, so I don’t understand why you’re chastising us for expressing dissent.

  • samantha

    I mistakenly thought this was a legitimate book review, and expected inteligent comments.
    My bad

  • samantha

    Have you actually read or heard anything else of his?

  • samantha

    As I said in my first post, I stumbled onto this site looking for legitimate reviews. What I found was vile and offensive personal attacks on a man and woman who do not share your (athiests) views. They have found peace and joy by living life the way feel led, and are sharing their story.

    So if I understand you correctly, you would prefer to “vent” only to like minded people? By expressing my confusion and opinions here I am meddling?

    Driscoll is not causing harm, he is teaching the Bible. Only good can come from that.

    You asked why I thought it any attempt on my part to tear down someone elses beliefs is futile.

    And I answered.

  • Because it’s not at all harmful to blame a victim of abuse for the abuse. It doesn’t harm women one little bit to be treated like baby factories.

    “Not harming anyone,” MY ASS.

  • “So if I understand you correctly, you would prefer to “vent” only to
    like minded people? By expressing my confusion and opinions here I
    am meddling?”

    Not at all. As I offered in my previous comment, you are welcome to reply to my views (to the extent that I can extend this offer on someone else’s blog, although I believe Hemant is of the same opinion.

    My point was that, based on your advice to us, to ignore things that we find objectionable, you come off as a hypocrite coming here to criticize us for doing the same thing you are! The irony here is that the best defense of this blog post comes in your own words: “By expressing my confusion and opinions here I am meddling?”

    To the best of my understanding you were looking for information on the book and you stumbled on this site, and you got incenced that we are not praising the book and came here to tell us to shut up. Sorry, that’s notgoing to happen samantha. Sorry we burst your bubble.

    “You asked […]And I answered.”

    Yes I asked you, you answered and I commented on your response. This is how intelligent conversation works. I thought that’s what you were looking for.

    The harm caused by this book and by the attitude Driscoll is promoting is well described in these comments. Describing abhorrent behavior as such is what moral people do. As for the harm done by teaching the bible, and his specific interpretations of it, well, we’re going to disagree on that. But the views here are not any less legitimate just because they happen to disagree with your own.

    Feel free to stick around. God may change your heart, but atheists can help change your mind.

  • samantha

    The part I objected/object to are the vile personal attacks AND that most if not all of you have not read the entire book or bothered to read or listen to any of his other materials. I have not ridiculed anyone for their beliefs (or lack of) or the right to express those views, just the attacks on those of us who feel differently.

  • samantha

    He doesn’t do either of those things, read the book.

  • samantha

    One other point. The trend I see here is that one person takes something completely out of context and rants about it. Then someone else picks it up and runs with it and before you know it all these people are upset and angry over a completely bogus piece of information.

  • I have heard several of Driscoll’s sermons and I feel confident to comment on what I’ve seen. I don’t need to listen to everything he’s ever said to address a place where I think he’s wrong.

  • Anonymous

    He has a huge website and blog you know. His drivel is hard to miss and his insane opinions about various things have been discussed here and on other blogs before

  • samantha

    There are lots and lots of “huge websites and blogs” out there that do not pertain to me therefore I do not waste my time on them. In fact this is one not so huge site that fits that catagory. You and others here obviously are only comfortable communicating with like minding individuals.
    I wish you well

  • samantha

    Read the preface to this book, I think it explains alot.
    I wish you well

  • Yes, I have. I know exactly what he promotes, and I object to his views on women and sexuality, which I find harmful and deeply immoral. He is a fundamentalist through and through, and a particularly harsh and mean-spirited one at that.

  • This was covered in the blog post, I don’t need to read that POS “book” these illiterate misogynistic abuse-apologists put out.


    Read that again:


    He didn’t call it abuse, though — he called it the “sin of fornication”. Yup, because rape VICTIMS are totally to blame for being raped.

    How about YOU learn to read, and stop supporting these vile pieces of shit.

  • Liar.

  • samantha

    The sexual sin and the abuse were 2 seperate things. He did not blame her for the abuse. This is an example of what I was referring to when you called me a liar.
    Maybe if you did a little of your own reading it would broaden your vocabulary.
    I wish you well


    His wife was RAPED. He BLAMED HER for the rape, and said that SHE had sinned, thus BLAMING THE VICTIM.

  • samantha

    I have no idea what FFS means but based on your limited vocabulary I’m guessing it’s not very nice.
    The abuse is a separate incident from when she cheated on him during her senior trip after high school. He learned about the abuse 10 years after he found out she cheated. You only have to read the first chapter, the ENTIRE first chapter, not just the excerpts on the blog, to know that. You should read the preface as well, it explains a lot. It won’t change your mind about his views of course but at least you could make your arguments based on first hand FACTUAL information.

  • Speak the truth in love

    Your responses seem so biased.

    1-He said he did not remember all of the words in the conversation when she admitted the accuracy of his dream.

    2-She was sad for ‘lying’. Lying is not really accepted in any culture,women being ad nurturing as we can be at times,can feel guilt for wronging someone very easily.

    3-This is NOT included. Mark stated,his wife DID NOT know she was raped. She thought it was a circumstance,so if she didnt know,how coils she tell him?

    4-Later his book states he listened to her story openly. As she spoke he weeped for the first time. He said to her,”you’ve been raped.” for heavens sake she didn’t even know it.

    You know what’s common here! I was too,but didn’t know it. My ‘religion’ too made me feel ways stated above,but JESUS and the bible once read right,DO NOT.

    5-half truths are stated here. Until you attend the church,know the bible,how can you make judgement,for you know nothing. Bc if you KNEW his teachings,you’d ‘know’ more than what your comments reflect. Yes ‘religion’ divides and Jesus taught love,unity,and forgiveness.

    6-mark,like myself,like many others have been taught the opposite truth of the bible. It’s science really,w/o proper teaching and upbringing,we fall and make mistakes. That’s all he did,as ALL of you have in some medium. I pray we just stop judging! Do not speak until you personally know the whole truth. Who wrote this blog? How credible is he? Think for yourself! I came to my decision in the bible,independently through self study.

  • Evlcpck

    I don’t know why this isn’t a “legitimate” book review just because it doesn’t conform to your assumptions about the book.  

    You have stated several times that others should read the book before they say anything bad about it.  It doesn’t seem like you have read the book, either, since you’re scouring the internet for reviews.  

    I’m just confused.

  • Swtnsasi777

    All the people saying he was going to leave his wife because she was raped are complete idiots. Her cheating on him and her being sexually assaulted were two different events. Also, he has also stated that the way he reacted to her cheating on him was completely wrong and he wishes he would have handled the situation with love and grace but he didn’t. All he’s saying is he’s pretty much happy that she didn’t tell him until she was pregnant and they were already married because had she have told him at the time it happen, he wouldn’t have stayed with her. But whether it was when I was 17 or 34 when my husband had cheated on me, I would have been just as devastated. He’s writing for people who have the same religious/marital beliefs as him, not for people who don’t believe what he believes so you should disagree but if you’re going to write an article of merit then you should at least make sure you get the facts straight. I love seeing opposing articles because they help me see from a different point of view but not when someone twists and completely misinterprets what the book is stating.

  • Mrrestrada

    You obviously have trouble with reading comprehension.
    Driscoll admits that the way he reacted to Grace’s sexual sin was not right.
    Your article rests on the premise that Driscoll’s Christianity ruined the marriage, however the book is written to show that when they truly recovered their Christianity in regards to marriage, their marriage was saved.

  • Jen Veldhuyzen

    I think you don’t really understand the Christian perspective on sex. Driscoll has preached entire sermons on how good sex is, how it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, and how people should be sexually open to one another. In fact, Christians are taught that there is no sexual act they are NOT allowed to perform.

    The only detail is when, and with whom. You choose one person, and you free your sexual expression by dealing with one person. Studies done by the University of Virginia show that married people have more sex on average and more creative sex than non-marrieds who sleep around. We save sex for marriage so we can have BETTER sex, not worse.

    Until you understand that we believe sex is good, you can’t understand why it’s a big deal for us that we save it.

    Also, Driscoll preaches a whole sermon on how HE was wrong to treat Grace the way he did when he found out her secret. He believes he sinned, greviously, with his religious self-righteousness. In fact, he uses the word religion as a sin. It is a sin to be religious.

    Again, I don’t think you have enough background to really understand where this couple is coming from. Sex is good, self-righteousness is bad. When you understand that they believe that, it makes more sense. You can check out the sermon series on Real Marriage at Mars Hill to hear these clarifications.

  • We understand what people like Mark Driscoll believe about sex. We just don’t agree with him. We feel that much of what he promotes is not only based on an irrelevant ancient book, but is also actively harmful to men, women, and children.

  • It’s the premise of “sexual sin” that’s the problem, not just Driscoll’s reaction to it.

  • Whit

    As a Christian and a citizen of this world, I think it is my duty to call out and fight against sexist, racist, and bigoted acts and beliefs, especially when they are done in the name of God. 

    Mark Driscoll is not just a private citizen or church goer.  He wants people to believe like he does, follow his church and his books to the letter.  Uncritical following simply makes his church goers seem more like sheep (which is sad to say, because animal sheep are cool).  It has been shown time and time again by former members of Mars Hill that people are discouraged from being critical thinkers and are punished when they question Driscoll’s words, beliefs, and presentations.  He’s not just a person with different beliefs from me; he is doing damage in this world by spreading misogynistic and homophobic ideologies under the guise of guilting people into being “good Christians”.

    I agree with you that it is sad that people would turn away from Christianity because of Driscoll.  But I think it’s silly, as a Christian that you proclaim to be, to simply turn yourself away from abhorrent things.  The work of faith and religion is not that easy.  There should always be dialogue about religious beliefs and especially with those who run churches to help others with their faith.

  • Mama Was an English Teacher

    “I’m sure the incorrect usage of ‘whom’ in that sentence deeply troubled you as well.”

    Are you referring to this sentence? “…I had not been the kind of husband whom she could trust and confide in…”

    If so, then the usage is actually correct. The word must be in objective form (“whom”) rather than nominative form (“who”) because it’s the object of a verb and a preposition, rather than the subject of a clause. The elements of the subordinate clause are: SHE (subject) COULD TRUST (predicate) WHOM (direct object) AND CONFIDE (predicate) IN (preposition) WHOM (object of the preposition). Driscoll’s sentence telescopes the two instances of “whom” into one, but in either case, the objective form must be used.

    However, if you want to rag on him for ending the clause with a preposition, you will be quite correct, as far as grammar goes.

  • Vanessa

    I read the entire thing thinking the guy in the picture had wrote it 🙂
    might have to re read it now 

  • A Friendly Christian

    I’m an evangelical Christian and agree with pretty much everything you said in this post.  I don’t think it compromises my beliefs to do so. Just sayin we’re not all that way.

  • Anonymous

    After reading the chapter of Driscoll’s book, this article, and all of the comments I can only say two things: Durp durp.

  • laura

    Gross. I normally have loads of respect for Pastor Mark but these excerpts disgust me.

  • Primaka

     You know, Christianity is what shapes our world and we have a choice to follow Christ and his teachings or not. Intimacy was created by God and perverted by Satan so he is constantly trying to trick us into thinking that God is not important. When you walk with the Lord you would understand about the atheistic mess our world is in. God gives you a choice to be saved, he won’t force it; many refuse….too bad 🙁

  • Tak

    The use of ‘whom’ is actually correct because in it Mark’s the object of the sentence. Grace can trust Mark, so Mark is the ‘whom.’ A way to always get it right (nearly, anyways) — in a declarative sentence, if the ‘next word’ from the who/whom is a noun, you want to use ‘whom.’ If it’s a verb, you want use ‘who.’ Adverb goes with verb, adjective with noun, obviously.

    Mark Driscoll, who is a pastor in Seattle, co-wrote a book on Marriage.
    Grace Driscoll, whom Mark loves very dearly, co-wrote the book as well.

  • Me

     good to know  I’m bisexual!! Never had any desires to be, but who knows??

  • Triestina

     Did he have to remain a virgin til he met and married her?  Did he get the same type of demanding questions he made her feel “required” to answer?

  • Triestina

     What category then, pray tell, do nocturnal emissions fall under?  God created that sexual release for perfectly healthy reasons, but I bet a “real” Christian would consider them sinful and evil, perhaps leaning towards homosexuality, since NO WOMAN is involved.  The more I learn about Christianity, the more fucked up I realize it is!

  • Triestina

     Your honesty and understanding of this matter is refreshing!

  • Triestina

     I would really like to know WHY this woman (or any woman for that matter) should be made to feel obligated to confess prior sexual relationships to her current mate, even if they decide to  marry?  The man doesn’t have any power to forgive sins, does he?   And does the MAN need to tell his woman about previous romances?  What’s the point?  Is it all because the woman possesses that little piece of skin that was of such paramount importance it got the Virgin Mary crowned “Queen of Heaven”?  Of course, back in those days all that donkey-transportation could easily break a hymen but they don’t take that into consideration, do they?  “Be fruitful and multiply” – but “Saint” (and I use the term loosely) Paul would rather people remain virgins and marry only if they felt they were burning with lust – heaven forbid!  Sure, let’s heed Paul’s version of  Christianity, give up sex altogether, and let the entire human race die out – that makes a lot of sense!  (Hey – it would get rid of all the SIN in the world!) 

  • Non. E. Mouse

    What you believe =/= what is real.

    ‘Christianity is what shapes our world’ – please, please go say that to a Muslim or a Hindu or somebody of another religion than yours.

    Intimacy – basic human need for social contact/reproduction.

    ‘Satan…is contantly trying to trick us into thinking that God is not important’ – I quite agree with your imaginary pagan-influenced evil being. Your imaginary sky friend isn’t particularly important.

    ‘the atheistic mess our world is in’ – Ahh the joys of one of the biggest and most dominant relgions pulling out the ‘we’re so PERSECUTED’ card. I’m not sure what the world percentages of religious people/atheists is but a guarantee that the percentage of religious people would be significantly bigger.

    Or possibly you’re referring to the fact that, at the very least, the American constitution doesn’t allow your particular brand of christianity to discriminate as and where it wishes and is actually vaguely fair towards people of other religions.

    ‘God gives you a choice to be saved’ – and by ‘choice’ you mean ‘worship me constantly, attribute every good and bad thing that ever happens to you to me and thank me for the good stuff while ignoring the bad or I’ll throw you in a firey pit of flames for all eternity just because I can and I’m kind of a douchebag like that’.

    If your god were real he’d a ginormous bag of dicks.

  • Non. E. Mouse

    Well I guess I’m screwed then. Because I have no intention of confessing to my future spouse exactly how frequently I watched and masturbated to porn.

    Mostly ’cause I can’t remember.

  • Non. E. Mouse

    I’d really prefer he didn’t. I’m kind of reliant on my heart to keep me alive and I don’t like hospitals very much.

  • He needs to be taken down. I cannot believe anyone actually attends this church or actually spends their hard earned money on his books. 

  • He needs to be taken down. I cannot believe anyone actually attends this church or actually spends their hard earned money on his books. 

  • Richard Thomas

    Being like Jesus? Jesus consorted with tax collectors and prostitutes. This guy contemplated ABANDONING HIS PREGNANT WIFE.

  • Annymouse

    My Life can be very displeasing especially when we loose the ones we love and cherish so much.My husband abandoned me and my 2 kids for 2 years he said he wanted new adventures.I asked what i had done wrong but he said nothing.He continued paying our bills but moved in with another woman i was so frustrated and a times i will cry all night because i needed my husband by my side. all thanks to, , i was nearly loosing hope until i saw an article on how Dr Ojuku cast a love spell to make lovers come back. There is no harm in trying, i said to my self. i contacted him via email and after 24 hrs my story changed. words will not be enough to appreciate what he has done for me. i have promised to share the testimony as long as i live because he brought back happiness and joy into my life.If you having any kind of problem in your relationship and you need your man back i RECOMMEND Dr Ojuku .please do contact him directly on, Email him on:,

  • Julie

    This is so, so disturbing. Religion, as they practice is, has to be some sort of mental illness (him) coupled (literally) with low self-worth and irrational guilt (her).

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