How NOT to Read The Bible

I’ve been swamped this week with life happening all around me. And right now that’s feeling like a good thing. But it is keeping my posts from happening. I’ll be even busier next week but I’ll get back to regular posting the following week.

In the meantime, here’s something to chew on. Prof. John Stackhouse has posted on his blog an excellent analysis of some teaching by Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church. Mark was in a video I posted a while ago featuring Francis Chan. The article by Stackhouse takes Driscoll to task and his article is an excellent lesson on how NOT to read the Bible.

Stackhouse writes,
“Alas, Brother Mark responds to these valid concerns too often with bad preaching of a bad message. Recently he managed to demonstrate both problems in all of six minutes. This video clip shows Mr. and Mrs. Driscoll answering a question about the legitimacy of stay-at-home husbands (HT: J. Barrett Lee). In these six minutes, a number of theological problems, in fact, emerge.”

Here’s the video:

Try identifying the problems with Driscoll’s method of interpretation and teaching before clicking over to read Stackhouse’s full article. Then click back and tell me what you think.

(Note: This isn’t about being down on Mark Driscoll. Stackhouse is very complimentary of what Driscoll has done for the Kingdom of God and I personally think Driscoll deserves the compliment. This IS an important teach on how NOT to read the Bible though!)


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Church, driscoll, faith, hermenuetics, religion, stackhouse, theology, truth. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to How NOT to Read The Bible

  1. Mark Driscoll has done some good. But coming from somebody that has met him and is from Seattle and has worked with many who have been uncontexually/ biblically abused by his doctrines…. This video is not surprising. He is a very violent and volatile man. He of course appeals to the young male ego types, but the oppression on women and men is absolutely terrible. I cannot go into the stories, but just know, I am hoping and praying he gets revelation, matures and grows out of the control and bondage he is placing on people through his black and white lenses.

    • brianmpei says:

      I’ve never met him but I’ve listened to several talks that he has done. I think in North America we’ve created a culture of the crowd and as long as your attendance is up and offerings are good you must be on the right track. Hopefully he’ll take a second look at some of his opinions.

  2. Don Rousu says:

    John Stackhouse’s critique is at once amazingly gracious and incisive. Driscoll’s understanding and application of I Timothy 5:8 is clearly colored by his own pre-conceived ideas about gender roles. I think the thing that concenrs me most is the frequent statement within the blogging community that Mark Driscoll is not humble nor open to correction from his peers. I sense, from what comes out of his own mouth and the way he says it, that this could very well be true. I fear for the man.

    • brianmpei says:

      I thought Stackhouse’s comments were definitely in the right spirit. I’d like to think that as followers we could all have discussions that is both generous and forthright.

  3. Michelle says:

    Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing. I think Stackhouse expresses his concerns well. Driscoll has some good points I’ll give him that much, but I’m not impressed with his interpretation of scripture and fear mongering. Sometimes it seems to me he is hell-bent on breaking people down rather than building them up 😦

    • Michelle says:

      I think my words were a little harsh. To clarify, I don’t believe that Driscoll has bad intentions or is even conscious of what other people (such as myself) are perceiving as fear-mongering. I’ve only seen him speak about a dozen times in YouTube videos and he seems much more concerned with rules and disqualifying people from God’s Kingdom and telling people what they are doing wrong then he is about loving people and building them up. But how much can you really know about a person from a handful of videos?

      I say I’m not impressed with his interpretation of scripture but who is more qualified in this matter really?

      As for his message regarding gender roles in the family, I think is very black-or-white and it doesn’t sit well with me. Let me give you a few reasons why:

      First, not every man or woman will fit the stereotype: I have met men who are much more patient, conscientious and nurturing than their partners. In this situation it would be wonderful if dad stayed home with the kids.

      Second, in some families mom’s income is far greater than dads and it would cause unnecessary stress to put dad to work overtime to make ends meet while mom stayed home. Let me give you an example: I have a friend who is a registered nurse and her husband is a hardworking but uneducated janitor. Her hourly wage almost triples his. They have four children together. Is it really fair for him to work overtime hours to try to make ends meet on a minimum-wage paycheck while she stays home full-time? Could you even sacrifice enough to make ends meet on one minimum wage paycheck with a family of six? Instead, she works four days a week and he works one day a week. This is equal to only one parent working full-time hours and allows them more family time together. None of the children are in daycare. Now, I wonder, since this father is a stay-at-home dad, if it would be a case for “church discipline” in Driscoll’s eyes?

      Having said all that, I do think that in general it is ideal if mom can stay home full-time with the children and dad can work to provide -as long as mom is the more nurturing parent and dad’s wage is adequate to provide!

      I am also aware that there are a lot of families in which both parents work full-time to meet a certain standard of living and it is unnecessary.

      • brianmpei says:

        I’m not sure if you read Stackhouse or not but that’s much of what he’s noting in his post. And he’s very qualified to address the sketchy interpretation that Driscoll uses in this vid.

        In our part of the world the welfare state/social assistance that we’ve embraced as a way of life vs. a helping hand, makes this a very “close to the bone” topic. I have a very emotional response to what Driscoll is saying – my heart breaks over those who have settled for less and those who dodge their responsibilities to spouse and children. At the same time I think we can’t baptize our opinions and call them God’s truth. In anthropology we studied civilizations who don’t do things our North American way when it comes to “gender roles” and it would be tragic to see our culture dumped on another culture as rules for following Jesus.

        All that to say, I think you make some good points and make them kindly. 🙂

  4. Judy says:

    I’ve heard Driscoll share some really solid stuff before. His teaching on what forgiveness is NOT, is pretty impressive. This topic however … lots of guys think in this caveman kind of way – they’re usually a little older than him though, and far less educated – but what really surprised me was his wife. I found myself thinking, “What century are you from, anyway?” Totally disconnected with reality, and spoken like someone who’s never had to go without for anything. (Why am I reminded of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”??) I caught myself gawking open-mouthed… and the word I had in my mind was she-anderthal. I had to struggle to listen to all of it. His attitude as she was speaking was like a teacher who was showing off his prize student. As he picked up the discussion my amazement turned to distaste and then to something like nausea.

    The pair of them freaked me out, quite frankly. It’s this kind of chauvinistic, narrow-minded and sanctimonious drivel that gives the unsaved so much ammunition against Christians.

    Then I read Stackhouse’s comments. Wow – how much more gracious he was than I could be at that moment! Well-considered and compassionate too. Amazing.
    Thank you for posting this.

    • brianmpei says:

      I am definitely inclined to a more egalitarian view of men and women in ministry together. I appreciate your honest reaction Judy because I know that despite my being “for” something like women in ministry/leadership I can’t fully appreciate how things like this land on women themselves. There’s a lot to learn in Stackhouse’s article and definitely not least is his attitude.

  5. If you knew what his wife and other women have been put through, you would know why they are speaking that tune….. basically it is an easy choice to make for them, comply or fry.. Very sad and definitely not the daughters of freedom the Lord desires…

  6. pomorev says:

    I follow a lot of the folks connected with the emerging church, I know Driscoll has since distanced himself from this movement, but that is what put him on my radar initially. But I actually gave up on him a long time ago. He epitomizes what I find wrong with Reformed theology and a local pastor (in a conversation we had) asked me what makes him any different from the old time fundamentalists? I think that is where I’d put him. That doesn’t mean I think he is all wrong – but over an over again I hear him commenting on culture from a very narrow perspective that seems to be based much more in fear than in scripture or faith. And his use of scripture is also typical of the later (post-Scopes) fundamentalist movement.

    Stackhouse’s article was excellent, John is one of our Canadian evangelical treasures. I have other friends who have written open letters to Driscoll, but it does not seem to matter.

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