January 22, 2021

Driscoll, Masculinity, and the Missional Church

By Chaplain Mike

Mark Driscoll.

It would be easy to pile on right now. You know…

  • The guy is full of himself.
  • The guy’s language is crude and offensive.
  • The guy can’t control his tongue.
  • The guy is a bully.
  • The guy is a misogynist.
  • The guy is a homophobe.
  • The guy is a loose cannon.
  • The guy has a theology of “masculinity” that is Philistine.
  • The guy needs other leaders to hold him accountable.

To be honest, I can’t say those things. I don’t know the man, and it’s really not my call anyway. One could make a pretty good case for many of those evaluative statements based on Driscoll’s sermons and interviews and writings. But I’m not going to do that.

I will be honest and say I don’t get Driscoll and I don’t understand his appeal. First of all, the whole megachurch thing remains incomprehensible to me, for all the reasons I’ve stated here the last two years, and for more reasons I haven’t put into words yet. In addition, the persona Mark Driscoll projects is not one I admire either. His dress and demeanor, the attitude he gives off, and the constant references he makes to himself and his church do not attract me. I’ve watched and read his sermons and I see some depth of content there, but the communication style is so casual and vulgar that I can’t stand to listen for long. He represents one extreme form of that broader evangelical circus I have decided to abandon, albeit a more conservative and doctrinally-oriented form. He does not speak to me.

But he is not trying to reach me.

Bottom-line, Driscoll represents the restless and reformed version of the church growth movement. He is seeker-oriented and his ecclesiology is missional through and through. He has a target audience in Seattle (and elsewhere now) and he believes that a combination of conservative reformed baptist doctrine and radical cultural identification is the way to go to evangelize his community and build the church. In particular, he has a personal passion to reach certain kinds of people, and it is this aspect of his ministry that has sometimes led him into controversy, especially with regard to his style and issues such as “masculinity.” Because, at least according to his own words, Mars Hill Church has a priority of reaching men for Christ.

It may be a “chicken and egg” thing, but I wonder which came first for Mark Driscoll—his passion to reach men, especially young men (the hardest demographic to incorporate into a church family), or his strong complementarian theology. However it went down, he has consistently offered a potent blend of patriarchal teaching and practical confrontation of men to come to Christ and practice a robust faith.

After the jump, I have reproduced parts of a sermon he gave from Proverbs on the subject of “Men and Masculinity.” You will see that this issue is personal for Mark Driscoll. It grows out of his own experiences. He thinks the church has dropped the ball when it comes to reaching men and building ministries in which they will participate. He also looks around his community and sees a lot of men who are not taking proper responsibility for their lives, their work, their relationships, and their walk with Christ. This stirs his heart and informs his approach to ministry.

“For me, this is – this is a very important issue. I was raised in south Seattle, in the ghetto, behind the Déjà vu, next to the airport. Okay? If you’ve been there, you can repent and don’t go there anymore. But, for the rest of you, if you don’t know where it’s at, that’s fine. It’s – it’s an interesting neighborhood. Gang- banging, drive-by’s, drugs, prostitution, the green river killer was there, the whole thing. One of the local elementary schools would have to go out on Monday and take the used condoms and the syringes off the playground before the kids came. And so, I was the oldest of five kids. And I grew-up in a blue-collar, hard-working, union family. My dad’s name is Joe, and he hangs drywall. Okay?

“We – we didn’t watch Will and Grace and think it was funny. We didn’t – we were – we were a very masculine home. Okay? And I had two sisters and two brothers. My brothers’ names are: Mike and Matt. So, it’s Mike, and Mark, and Matt, and Melanie, and Michelle. That’s our family. I don’t know how that happened, but apparently we got stuck right in the middle of the alphabet. And in my neighborhood, my dad hung drywall every day to provide for the family. If you’ve ever hung drywall, it’s work; it’s significant work. To the point where, a few years ago, my dad broke his back hanging drywall and had to give-up drywall, because he literally severed his back. And my dad, when I was little, I remember him telling me, “This is a rough neighborhood. You look out for your brothers. You look out for your sisters. If I’m gone, you take care of the family.” And you had to in my neighborhood.

“…And one my biggest fears in high school was becoming a Christian, because I thought immediately I would have to become very feminine. ‘Cause all the guys I knew who were Christians were just very – very soft, very tender, very sort of weak guys….

“…When I came to Christ in college, reading the Bible, and realized the gospel, and I went looking for a church; and a few of the first churches I went to were just completely uncomfortable. It was like walking into Victoria’s Secret. The décor, at first, it’s like fuchsia and baby blue, and there’s pink, and it’s just like, “What in the world has happened here?” And then the songs are very emotive, and it’s like love songs to Jesus, like we’re on a prom together or something. And I didn’t get that at all, ‘cause that made me feel real odd. And then – and then the guy preaches, and he’s crying and all this stuff, and trying to appeal to my emotions. And I was just like, “This didn’t work.” So, I kept looking for a church. So, I found a church where the guy got up and he said, “This week I was out bow-hunting.” He used that as an illustration. So, I became a member of that church. True story. I didn’t have any theological convictions, but if a guy killed things then I – he could be my pastor.

“And then we moved back to Seattle, my wife and I did, after we got married in college. And we were looking for a church. Couldn’t find a church. Finally ended-up at a good Bible-teaching church with a guy, Hutch, over at Antioch that, you know, he’s a line-backer and played football; and he carries a gun; and he has dogs; and he lives in the woods and he kills things. So, I was like, “This will work.” So, we went there. And I never consciously put this all together until fairly recently; that the average church has primarily older people, small children, and women.

“…And we have to get into this issue of masculinity, ‘cause of all cities in the country ours is one of the most confused; completely confused. No idea. What’s a man? What’s a man created for? What’s a man to do? 1 Corinthians 11 says, “A man is the glory of God.” Well, we don’t think of men that way. Either we want them nice and soft and compliant, or they’re thugs and they’re dangerous, and we need to defend ourselves against them. That’s the image of men.

“…What I want at Mars Hill is men. I’m gonna say it as clean, as plain as I can. Did I say I don’t want women and children? That’s not what I said. But women and children with men who abandon or abuse or avoid, that’s not nice for women. Ask a single mother how nice it was that the man abandoned his obligations. Ask a woman who’s getting beaten by her husband how much she would like someone to be stronger than him, and to give him the truth? See, I think the nicest thing we can do for women, the nicest thing we can do for children, is to make sure that the men are like Christ; in a good way; in a loving, dying, serving way. Pouring themselves out. That’s why I get frustrated when I see churches that have enormous children’s ministries, and enormous women’s ministries, and no men.

• Mark Driscoll, Sermon: Proverbs—Part 5: Men and Masculinity, Oct. 28, 2001

This is not an apology for Mark Driscoll or Mars Hill Church. I have already stated that I have little sympathy with their ethos or approach. I’m simply trying to understand why this issue of “masculinity” is so important to someone like Driscoll, why he emphasizes it so much, and why he sometimes says things on the subject that make so many of us cringe. It doesn’t mean I agree with him, support his approach, or want to identify with him in any way. I’m just interested in discussing this in a way that doesn’t involve knee-jerk reactions or getting caught up in mud-slinging.

So here are some of my questions:

  • Does the testimony above give you any different perspective on Driscoll’s approach to masculinity and the church?
  • Does he have a point about the “feminization” of the church? Are church organizations, buildings, programs, ministries, worship styles, preaching styles, etc., focused more toward women and children than they should be?
  • Has the church been ignoring men and failing to call them to repentance for sins of immaturity, immorality, and irresponsibility?
  • What examples can you give of churches and ministries that are reaching men without resorting to strict complementarian theology, “Warrior Jesus” depictions, or “Wild at Heart” emphases that are (it seems to me) out of balance in the other direction?
  • Can one be an egalitarian, not stress “macho” Christianity, practice the historic liturgy and ministries of the church, and still have an effective ministry among all kinds of men?

I expect this may be a lively discussion.

Comments that merely reflect the spirit of the list at the beginning of the post will be deleted.


  1. Macho-Jesus would have come to earth & beat the HELL out of us!!!! I take the real Jesus.

    • interesting word picture there briank…

    • I think Driscoll would say that we should not only focus and worship the Jesus who came but also the Jesus who is coming (ie the man on a white horse with armies of heaven sent to make war on the kings of earth)

      • That’s kind of the whole irony to me, though. Jesus is already victorious through His death on the cross. His resurrection proved His victory of the powers that crucified Him. The victory was through weakness, not through brute force. Also, the blood that is on Jesus’ garments in Revelation isn’t that of his enemies – it’s his own.

        I guess it really has to do with our eschatology, at least to a degree, but I don’t think the point in Jesus coming back is to finish by force what He couldn’t accomplish the first time. The Kingdom is already breaking in here and now, and one day every day will bow to Christ. I suspect there will be some violence as the full consummation of the Kingdom, but even throughout the entire book of Revelation, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb. He conquers through “losing”, as it were. This is a major point where I disagree with Driscoll on.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Macho-Jesus would have come to earth & beat the HELL out of us!!!!

      Just like in Left Behind Volume 12.

  2. He’s got a point about men needing to act like christ, and I appreciate his apparent intolerance of domestic abuse and a father being absent. Hopefully he can reach some of the men in seattle who may have left their families, or who a violent towards the women in their life.

  3. Paul Davis says

    Before I say anything else, I’m complementarian, always have been. I’m not hardcore about it, but I do think the RCC has the right side of the issue. I agreed with their stand long before I was even thinking of joining.

    That being said, I don’t get these men only groups at all anymore. I married my best friend, and I actually prefer to spend the majority of my time with her, not drinking beer with my buddies. It’s not that I don’t go out and play Golf or drink beer with my buddies, I do those things often enough (sometimes they get combined all into one event). But it would be better IMO if the wives would come along, but that’s just me. I’m not complete unless she’s there.

    I’m going to take a left turn and go a different direction…

    In my experience and ‘opinion’ we don’t need more groups for men, we don’t men exclusive anything. What we need are an older generation of men who can stand as role models, hold to their integrity and show the way for the younger men. We need to spend more time equipping all our church members, on things like Foundational Christianity, Theology, Practical Orthopraxy or Good Old Fashioned Catechesis.

    Most men that I know that stop going, stop because they get tired of the nonsense, the hypocrisy and the lack of authenticity. They quickly determine if there is no depth, and they get frustrated and leave. I think church sanctioned events that cater to men are OK, when used sparingly. I think much of the junk that goes on today, misses the mark, and just becomes noise. I rarely go to church sponsored events for men anymore, and I disdain fraternal groups that recruit within the churches.

    What I think is vastly more effective, if men with solid foundational beliefs do real like things like play sports, or watch sports, have BBQ’s, go camping, brew some beer (my favorite), etc etc. And invite non church members along, leave the faith out. Don’t cram it down anyone’s throat, just be normal and show them you can be a believer AND normal at the same time. Sometimes all a man needs is someone who can understand where they are at, without all the trappings…

    Just my opinion…


    • Although I see your point about the phony posturing that goes on at many men’s activities I have to disagree about the general need for men’s groups. Where the men are being honest, open, and authentic it is a transforming and healing place. And when that is happening, it is not a place for women. Most times it is great for husband and wife to worship and learn together, but there is also a level of openness that excludes mixed company. Being open in front of my own wife is fine, but there are things I could/should never share or talk about with other women in the room. I would suspect that the same thing is true for women’s groups.

      • Paul Davis says

        I wasn’t dissing men’s groups, honest 🙂

        But I think many times we put too much focus on one or the other group dynamics based on gender alone, I really don’t mind if they are done properly. But too many times we try to get creative in our zeal to make them more gender specific, and somewhere along the way we lose track of the actual goal. I agree that where men are being open and honest, it can be a rewarding experience.

        It could just be my experience, but too many times men only groups, even among believers. Heads quickly into areas that should not be discussed, and there is a difference in sharing something with a close friend, and sharing it with a group of men.

        For some men an environment like that can be a very enriching experience, but I’ve had such mixed results that anymore I only open up and share with men who I consider true friends.


    • Paul,

      I could not agree with your more on what you wrote. It’s like we ahve to be two different people. The guy at church and the guy at home. Two diiferent guys

  4. This is purely anecdotal, but I just finished a four year stint as a youth pastor so here is my story:

    As a young boy I took dance lessons for 10 years. I like poetry. I like theatre. I’m a musician. I also played football and ran track but in the spectrum of masculine to feminine I’m somewhere in the middle.

    My youth ministry was consistently 80% (and higher) male. These were rough guys too. I can’t tell you how many probation and court hearings I’ve been to for male students of mine who thought the best way forward in a conversation was pushing their fist into somebody’s face. All this to say, I had a strong ministry towards males and didn’t need to be hyper-masculine. In fact, I spent more time working with these students on alternatives to violence and testosterone demonstrations than most other topics. Most of them came from households where their fathers or other male figures expected them to be mean to women, belch, and throw punches. It seemed that having a sensitive male was a new wind for them.

    I spent the better part of a year working in Australia, the land of the “Bloke.” If you’re unaware, bloke is a term used to describe a man’s man, in many cases. As an American I was allowed to be a bit different and I was surprised by the amount of Australian men who approached me to talk about their “feelings” because they had no other outlets. To pretend like men are supposed to fit into some he-man, meat eater, gun shooting, face punching stereotype is to place expectations on them that cut short the fullness of the human experience, including emotions and sensitivities that culture otherwise despises.

    I’m not effeminate, but I know from my own ministry that “machismo” does more harm to men than good, especially in regards to the Kingdom. I’m thankful for my manhood but don’t feel that my manhood is defined by figures like rambo or Mark Driscoll and it is shame anytime a young man who struggles with anger and violence is told that they should embrace that part of themselves rather than harness it towards goodness and charity.

    • Thank you. This was fantastic.

    • I don’t think you are properly characterizing what Driscoll is saying at all. He isn’t promoting some sort of macho-Christianity. What I hear him as saying is that too much of the church uses the equation mature+Christian+man=passive(nice)+Christian+man. He isn’t promoting being a macho-man, he is speaking of an aggression that will do what needs to be done for the cause of Truth no matter the hardship to the man. That kind of “fighting spirit” is sorely lacking in the church at large.

      But most churches don’t work to produce a man with that sort of strength because he can’t be easily controlled. Churches want obedient men who will agree with the pastor, go along with the church program, fall in line with what the church leadership perceives the needs to be, etc. I know strong men who walked away from church less because of faith issues, and more because the pastor drummed them out as “troublemakers.” They are men with convictions and strength who could greatly advance the Kingdom, instead they are out there on their own because they don’t fit into our churches. That is what Driscoll is addressing.

      • I’m not here to harp on Driscoll, especially as he has made great moves towards public humility in recent months, but I must address a few of your points:

        To your last paragraph, Driscoll has on more than one occasion flexed his muscles to put down men who stood up to him in his congregation. In practice he has created a culture where men (or people in general) are supposed to be obedient to him and agree with him or are otherwise disciplined. Here is one example, albeit a bit tainted:


        You can actually find a lot of writing on this incident and others like it at Mars Hill.

        Like this blog dedicated to the issue: http://freedom4captives.wordpress.com/

        And, of course, the seemingly unending supply of quotes like this:

        “Jesus and Paul were serious dudes. They had teeth missing. Jesus was a carpenter, Paul was in prison. These guys didn’t eat tofu dogs and bean sprouts. They didn’t play tennis. If there were trucks back in their times, they would have been doing driveway lube jobs on a Saturday afternoon. Same thing with King David. Yeah, he might have played a lyre, but he slaughtered thousands of guys.”

        “In Revelations, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”

        “We want to love our city and we can’t do that with a bunch of pansies who would rather play video games than go to a monster truck rally or tattoo their faces like Mike Tyson.”

        And this gem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddFbELpXTcg&feature=player_embedded

        Again, I think Mark has taken some large pastoral steps in recent history but until he stops acting as though the only way to be male is to be violent and misogynistic I will speak against his teaching, especially in these areas.

        • This sort of “real men are macho jocks” attitude is what really bothers me about Driscoll. Jesus was of course not a wimpy sunshine-and-flowers hippie, but the version of him Driscoll pushes is just as inaccurate (he LET HIMSELF BE KILLED…how can you ignore that?). And his whole image of masculinity is brutal and harsh to introverts or “geeks” or anyone who doesn’t care about sports. What is so holy about a monster truck rally?

          • And hasn’t he also said something to the effect of “women shouldn’t go to college if they have to borrow money because it puts an unfair burden on their future husbands”? I’m going by hearsay, so I could be wrong. But generally, while he never states it outright, I find that a condescending dislike for intellectuals lurks just beneath the surface of a lot of what he says.

          • WenatcheeTheHatchet says

            Yeah, he has said women shouldn’t go to college if they have to borrow a ton of money that will become debt their husbands pay. He didn’t exactly say they should never go to college. He said that going to college if you don’t have to do so through massive loans is a good idea and that women should never presume that they will marry, meaning they should plan to have autonomous careers. But that can frequently turn into a peculiar kind of double bind in the lives of normal people.

        • You are right, I have heard some things about how Driscoll has taken authoritarian stances and it disappoints me as it flies in the face of the sort of man he is asking to step forward. The sort I have heard him ask for are the same sort who are firm in acting on their own convictions and don’t always “play nice.” It goes to, “careful what you ask for, you may just get it.” But I still like the emphasis of his ministry. I think it is much needed. Whimpy western Christianity had about killed my faith until Driscoll, Eldredge, and the like came along.

          The other stuff you quote I chalk up to overstating his point. I don’t think he is serious about tattooed faces since he has none on his face. A lot of that is just overstatements to make a point that will stick in people’s minds.

          • It happens enough that I’m not convinced that it is only overstatement but it definitely fits into the category of hyperbole.

            I don’t want to discourage ministry that emphasizes masculinity as that is an important part of humanity. One of my favorite images, and I wish I could remember what commentary it came from, is of the word “meek.” I read that an image used to understand what the Bible means when it uses this term is that of a bridled stallion – the strength, passion, and wild spirit subdued by the bridle of its Master. I can get behind an image of manhood that emphasizes meekness in that vain. I imagine that Driscoll would too, but his language is just too often reckless for my blood.

      • “Churches want obedient men who will agree with the pastor, go along with the church program, fall in line with what the church leadership perceives the needs to be, etc.”

        From what I understand, this is pretty much what Driscoll expects from the people at Mars Hill.

        I personally get a little wary when people spend a lot of time talking about authority and getting people to submit to authority. I don’t think authority in the church is something that is granted from the top-down. It’s more along the lines of something that comes from serving those we are leading.

      • BIG can of worms , here, Dan-o: are you saying that Driscoll’s package/theology is one that plays “fair” with those who dissent ?? I totally agree that most pastors have a very tough time with this, and want “nice guys” who don’t rock the boat. But what does Driscoll want ? This is worth looking into: I think I see some wild ambivalence, here: the Braveheart thing is great, but what if one of the ‘regulars’ dares to challenge William Wallace ??

        • In cases of strong dissagreements that can’t be resolved see Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15. Stuff happens among strong men. It was no tragedy; it was a multiplication of effort.

          • We’ll see how this plays out at Mars Hill. A true test of real ‘manhood’, IMO, is how that “strong stuff” is handled. I don’t think Acts 15 is one of Paul’s finer moments, and I would consider the rift with Barnabas to be a minor tragedy. Yes, GOD got lots of mileage out of it anyway, that does not exonerate Paul.

            Surely Driscoll is maturing as a leader, and has some great counsel around him, I hope his Randy Savage Jesus doesn’t prove his undoing.

  5. Dana Ames says

    To answer the questions:

    1. Yes. It seems he wanted a church that would uphold his family/neighborhood culture. As others have pointed out, some aspects of that culture work to keep men and women immature; those are not good things. And as others have spoken above: where was Jesus, especially the Jesus who won our freedom from sin death through his abject humility?

    2. No.

    3. This is difficult. Most of the expressions of Evangelicalism with which I was involved weren’t too strong on helping anyone, male or female, understand why they continued in unhealthy, immature patterns. Most were not the “deadbeats” against whom Driscoll rages; but the source of our sins is within, not “out there” somewhere. It’s not as straightforward as just yelling, “Man up!” or “Don’t do that!”

    4. and 5. My Orthodox parish has lots of men, and most of them are involved; in personalities and traits they are all over the (culturally conditioned “masculine”/”feminine”) spectrum, from our jazz-guitarist rector to a Civil War re-enactor. A few men have lost their jobs, or, just out of school, have not been able to break into work in this economic downturn, and their wives are working to support their families; the men are not harangued that they’re “not manly enough” and the “working mothers” aren’t shamed for working for money. We just don’t spend a lot of time on this issue: Orthodox teaching is that men and women are equally made in the image of God and equally called to be human, period. This is a far cry from the logical ends of some strict complementarian teaching. Ok, so in Orthodoxy some men are priests; most men aren’t. Otherwise, women can do anything men can do: be elected to, and chair, the Parish Council; initiate and oversee ministries; instruct all types of men, including instructing seminarians in biblical languages and anything else they need to know; be choir directors (an extremely important and responsible area of service); work hard to benefit the church and the community; pray.

    In chapter 4 of “Exclusion and Embrace,” Miroslav Volf has written the best Protestant treatment of the gender issue I have ever read.

    This is also extremely good.
    “Male and Female He Created Them”. Speaker is Fr. John Behr. Yeah, he has a lisp; he’s married with children and is a long-distance bicyclist, so hope that makes up for it. There is actual theological depth here.

    Ok, that was mildly snarky; as I say, I’m discouraged that some of those who insist that the bible is their sole rule of faith can’t absolutely-bottom-line-take-it-to-the-end-of-their-line-of-reasoning affirm the humanness of both males and females, and furthermore have gone so far as to defend that contention by tampering with the doctrine of the Trinity. **That’s** what’s dangerous, not some supposed “feminization” of the church.

    I’ll be quiet now.


    • Another Dana says

      Thanks for the link. I just finished listening to Fr. Behr and feel greatly encouraged. Most of the common evangelical treatments of male/female issues tend to discourage me. I’ll listen to this a few more times and look for more of Fr. Behr’s work. Again, thanks.

  6. Perhaps my comments are bit late but, I find it interesting that this notion that women never worked out of the home until the sixties is a bit of a cliché. My Grandmother had one child and she and my grandfather both worked outside of the home. She worked in a sock factory and he worked in a metal refinery. He never attended church and come to think of it few of my grandmother’s sisters husbands did either. (All of those seven women worked outside the home and one shockingly didn’t have children!!! Gasp, horror, shock! Also, no one from the church came after her either) I know this is one family story but, I don’t think that “churches are only marketed for women and children” is some new phenomenon. The minister at my grandmother’s little Baptist church from all accounts faithfully cared for his flock some whole families, others women and their children. He also went to those people’s home and witnessed to the spouses who for their own reasons didn’t attend. Maybe some didn’t come for the reasons Driscoll states and maybe others had different reasons. I don’t know my Grandfather’s exact reasons for not attending but I am sure it had something to do with being told what to do. I don’t think he or the other “,manly men” of his generation (he was QUITE masculine) would have thought that they would like Driscoll’s church either. Yelling at my WWII vet, masculine grandfather WOULD NOT have gotten his attention or adoration. In fact, he would have thought said yelling, cussing pastor was just a vulgar boy and would not have been impressed.

    As he grew older he would always watch television on Sundays especially Charles Stanley but, he never would enter in a church. I remember him saying that he thought they just wanted your money. Perhaps many men flock to Driscoll’s sermons but, he alienates other men. He is only trying to reach a certain segment of men. I would say that even some very masculine men would not be ooohhing and awwwing over him and I know that people of the depression era (my grandparents) probably would have heartily disagreed that their wives couldn’t work out of the home. I get really annoyed with the characterization of the “good ole days” when men worked and women stayed at home. Post industrial age that just simply hasn’t been the case for every single family. Pre 1850 yes but not afterwards; especially in cities. For those women who were on farms (my great grandparents) they were out in the fields helping their husbands bring in cotton. It seems that family then had a clearer definition of “men’s and women’s roles” but for many of those men they needed their wives in order for their role to be what it needed to be which in my mind is what true complementarianism is. This other view seems warped at best. Of course their is also the theological view of complementarianism that women should hold office of the ministry… on that I guess I will respond at a different time. I don’t know that both are of the same essence. Just my take….

    • Richard Hershberger says

      The change in women’s work in the ’60s was for middle class women. As you point out, women had always worked in the lower class, out of necessity. The change was that an educated middle class woman might pursue a career by choice, rather than being supported by a husband. The typical pattern before then had been to work for a few years prior to marriage. The women who kept working were presumed to be unmarriagable. Of course there always have been exceptions to this. And if we move the discussion to the upper classes the rules have always been different. But there is quite a lot of truth to the notion that there was a cultural shift.

    • MelissaTheRagamuffin says

      My grandmother always worked outside of the home, and she actually made more money than my grandfather.

  7. I think much of this has to do more with the lack of teaching kids how to grow into adults than masculine or feminine directions in churches.

    Starting in the 20s/30s there was a big movemen that started taking holdt in the US to allow children to be “kids” until they got to their later teens. The problems is you have to learn how to be an adult. You don’t flip a switch and magically start acting maturely. There was an interruption in this as pushing much(most?) of the late teen through late 20s males in the US through the military forced them to get over being kids and grow up. Plus learn how to take care of laundry, keep a clean house, show up on time, etc… WWII and all that. The 50s and 60s got us back on the eternal kid track and the late60s cemented it. I even had parent in the 60s tell me about how they wanted to hide all th adult things in the world from their kids till after college so they would have a nicer childhood than they had. And many of them had the depression to cloud their views of what a normal life was.

    I could go on but I personally feel that many issues in the broader western church would be moved in a better direction of we made the point of childhood to be to grow into an adult and not have it be 20 years of solid play time. And I don’t mean no fun. But it needs to understood that the end game is a fully functioning adult. Not a child that is supposed to magically change at age 20.

    And I’m very suspicious off all these studies about adolescent brains no being adult brains until after age 20. Maybe this is a result of how we raise our children and not a pre-determined state.

  8. arpritchett says

    Posts like this are why I visit this site less than I used to.

    No complementarian espouser of anything Reformed can be mentioned here without being beat like a government mule. Driscoll gets called a bully and a woman hater. I’ve seen Piper called the Protestant pope on here.

    I’ll say it one more time: the big difference between Driscoll and myself is that when I say something dumb, I don’t have thousands of people listening to my podcast. I usually only have to apologize in private to 3 or 4 people at most. Mostly I have to apologize to my loving and gracious wife (who doesn’t listen much to Driscoll herself but thinks men should).

    He shouldn’t have put up a post about effeminate worship leaders; I won’t defend that. However, I doubt if he retracted the statement and apologized for it that he would receive any kind of grace or forgiveness from many who comment on iMonk.

    • Andrew, did you read the same post and comments I did? “Beat like a government mule”? Come on, this was one of the most balanced and thoughtful discussions I’ve ever been a part of on IM.

    • I don’t recall the title Protestant Pope ever being applied to John Piper. Now John MacArthur, on the other hand…

      • Richard Hershberger says

        My father served two tours in Vietnam as a chaplain. Once when Billy Graham came for a visit, my father was assigned as liaison. The comment he related to me was that had it been the Catholic Pope visiting, of course a Catholic chaplain would have drawn that assignment. But since it was the Protestant Pope…

    • Seriously? Did you actually read CM’s post? He was doing the exact opposite.

  9. When Paul said this is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church, he was not just using superlatives. It is truly a profound mystery that goes to the heart of unifying opposites, God and humanity; good and evil. The only way opposites can unify is if they are indeed opposites, so men must be men and women must be women. That has zero to do with outward appearance. Homosexuality is currently in vogue on American TV and in the culture but it is antithetical to the natural order of the church, being the female counterpart to Christ that she is. My relationship as a man to my wife is a small image of Christ and the church – at least I can hope. Men don’t need to ‘act’ manly to be men but they must ‘be’ manly. They must live out and through the male essence. It’s important and part of a great mystery.

  10. For a summary on the effect of family (especially fathers) on so-called evangelical leaders, see Doug Frank’s Book–A Gentler God, chapter 2: The God Who Built Shame. His insights seem helpful with this discussion.

  11. Your quote from MD did not change my opinion at all. He is a gifted public speaker. No disagreement there. And, he does strike a chord with men. But there is a dark side. When those men take what he says to heart, and stand up to his all to often bullying, they are publically accused of “sinfully questioning” or threatened with harm. And many have been harmed. That is not the gospel.

    • centorian says

      Good point. I am as complementarian as they come, but i recognize God gave people brains and the ability to have some insight into things that haven’t seen. To treat the church like and overbearing, abusive father is not masculine, it is the manifestation of a controlling narcissist.

  12. centorian says

    I still don’t get it. I don’t think Driscoll’s experience of the church feminine is endemic to the church at large. I live in a region where men are men and women are women. We don’t have to target any group, not by gender, ethnic origin, economic or social status. To do so causes an imbalance, even if that is spread across 10 campuses ( who ever dreamed a church would be called a “campus”… talk about displacement!!) in three states. Driscoll seems to know his doctrine, but his appeal is a mile wide and an inch deep. ….. and it seems to be working well……

  13. Good point Cent. as long as ears want to be itched, there will be plenty of Driscoll’s to scratch them. There’s an attraction to a meek, humble man like Moses but Driscoll seems a bit arrogant for my taste…

  14. I listened to Driscoll’s sermons pretty frequently for a little over a year, and even though his macho-man style isn’t really “my thing” and I can’t say I agree with his leadership style, the general thrust of his teaching was thoroughly Jesus-centered stuff. I don’t feel the need to defend everything the man says because I agree (and I think Driscoll would too) that he can be arrogant, flippant, and everything else. But his sermons and books served as gateway for me from trendy, emotionalistic forms of evangelicalism to the kind of theologically and liturgically robust faith promoted on this blog. So in spite of all the controversy, I want to voice my appreciation.

  15. I have chosen to hide my daughters from such insidious nonsense that is masked as biblical manhood and womanhood. Driscoll and his like are a danger to the the church as much as to those outside the church. You listed all the reasons to have nothing to do with him, and you are not the least of those who have compiled the list. The New Reformers as he likes to package himself as are so different from the Puritans that it is mind blowing. There was nothing wrong with the old Calvinists. All this attention that is drawn toward himself is the result of a problem that plagues the body of Christ. We seem to crave heroes and always look for them. Heads up people! This dude is no one to emulate or adulate. Let’s get real. This guy has more in common with the world’s understanding of manhood than he does of the Scriptures. So, don’t mind me while I lock up my two daughters and guard the door. Women to him are glorified breeding machines who should have one foot in the kitchen and the other meeting the sexual needs of their husbands. Barbaric is what it is.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I find it interesting that the main characters of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic present six different archetypes of “how to be a girl”, yet Driscoll (and through representation, God) seems to have only one archetype of “how to be a man”, i.e. “I Can Beat You Up.”

      Women to him are glorified breeding machines who should have one foot in the kitchen and the other meeting the sexual needs of their husbands. Barbaric is what it is.

      Or “Shari’a”?

  16. I think that the church has done a terrible job reaching men because it does not have a clear sense of what men are really about. Driscoll seems to think that all men want to hunt, kill, and be the boss; and many men do. But what men really want is much deeper. They want to be accepted. They live their entire life striving to meet a standard of masculinity set by society and taught by some churches. They’ve been raised to believe that they have to be strong, popular, have lots of friends, and be the coolest of all of those friends. Any deviance from the social standard is met by bullying in school, ridicule in college, and laughter at the job site. The church is only doing it’s job when it reaches out to all men, regardless of their “masculinity” and brings them into a place of acceptance. The church needs more than just the beefy “jock”. It needs men who are willing to turn the other cheek like Jesus did. It needs men who don’t see their masculinity as a right to power and control. And it needs men who take their faith seriously and let it seep into every area of their life. I think that the call to men isn’t any different than to women. It’s not a call to a more masculine Christianity, it’s a call to turn to Jesus and live a life following him.


    • The church is only doing it’s job when it reaches out to all men, regardless of their “masculinity” and brings them into a place of acceptance.

      Really liked this; good post.

  17. well, the grand theoretical question has not been asked yet, so i will…

    if Mars Hill Seattle was the only church left on earth to attend, would you do so???


    • The Guy from Knoxville says

      I’ll take on the “only church left” question – at this point in life….. No! I’m already struggling with the whole church concept and just this week finally decided to wash my hands of the SBC church and move on. I never thought, as a musician and otherwise, I could be so beaten and crushed so much in church as much as I have the SBC in recent years and the last thing I need is someone else adding to it.

      At this point I know not where I will end up churchwise but I’m definitely stepping back from some things for awhile and the SBC for good……. now starts the real walk in the wilderness.

      • I’ve found M. Spencer’s words about the activity of Jesus in ‘small pockets’ and in everyday life to be very liberating reg. looking for ‘the right church’. You’ve probably arlready got a copy, but maybe now is a good time to read (reread) Mere Churchianity. Unsolicited blather: hope you don’t mind.

        I think I might well be on the way out of Vineyard fellowship sometime later this summer or early fall. Oh joy, feels like “the dating game” all over again.

        • i have decided to attend the local Presbyterian church here in town. yes, they are PCUSA, but their stance regarding same-sex relationships/ordination very sensitive, balanced & deliberately low-key…

          they are very involved in the local college campus. they do have ‘ministry’ (programs) groups that target many of the different age groups & interests represented. but really it comes down to practicality for me: no need to reinvent the church wheel; it is within walking distance; has a college age group i want to help out with & the only church in town that has a divorce recovery class i also offered to help out with…

          my theological perspectives do not fall in line with everything they espouse, but i have noticed in small ways that what is being preached/represented by the senior pastor & the associates that what they are saying is a more generous orthodoxy than i had expected. so, yes, a positive experience i had in the brief time i have attended…

  18. Pat Pope says

    Okay, I understand his background and what informs his position, but as I read it, I couldn’t help but think that Driscoll’s perception is skewed. I wonder did that ever occur to him as he was searching for a church? Sometimes we can’t just look outward and see what’s wrong with everyone else. We need to look inward and allow the Lord to show us what’s wrong with us; how we’ve been shaped and effected by our environments and consider the fact that we may be overreacting. Just because a pastor cries during a sermon doesn’t mean’s he’s soft. That’s a man, in my mind, whose passionate and feels what he’s preaching. Hunting and living in the woods is the sign of masculinity? Wow….

    I understand being driven by coming out of a poor neighborhood and seeing men abuse their families, but I know other pastors who are also reaching out to inner city men and they are not denigrating women to do it. Oddly enough, the way Driscoll preaches, he in effect is being as abusive to others as he accuses the “thugs” of being, just in a different way.

  19. * Does he have a point about the “feminization” of the church? Are church organizations, buildings, programs, ministries, worship styles, preaching styles, etc., focused more toward women and children than they should be?

    Over all, I do not believe he has a point. While it is a concern that needs to be addressed in places, I believe that a healthy understanding of masculinity & it’s place in the culture & church, is far more significant an issue. In the end, I actually believe that Driscoll is contributing to the problem through his emphasis. The answer is not to reduce the freedom or place of women (or children), but to discover the place men have alongside them- NOT above them.

    * Has the church been ignoring men and failing to call them to repentance for sins of immaturity, immorality, and irresponsibility?

    Yes, through the perpetuating of damaging patriarchy.

  20. If we are going to be inclusive we need to include the “warrior class” in our church culture as well. Has anyone ever seen the movie (Mini-Series) Masada about the group of Jewish people held up in the fortress city Masada because of the blood lust of the Roman empire?
    Anyways you had all of these different Jews held up together in one place with one reason and purpose. There were many different worldviews within the walls of Masada and it was interesting how important the “warrior class” was during a time of self defense and fear. It seems odd to me that a guy like Driscoll who has been openly critical of himself, his faults and failures and publicly repentant is still the target of so much ire from those who have been raised in a different culture or see things different. I might not agree with some of the cloaked fundamentalism Driscol carries but I think he is being genuine and missional. If we are going to be consistent with our inclusive paradigm we should look at him as you want him to look at you. Just like Canada might not enjoy Americas attitude or candor they love American Navy. I appreciate your post Mike no better way to gain the context of a guy like Driscoll than to listen to where he comes from.
    This is a complex issue.

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