Mark Driscoll Slammed by Baptist Press over Sex Teaching

A number of sites have noted a report from the Baptist Press concerning Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church; a Christian radio station recently yanked a programme featuring Driscoll due to Driscoll’s teachings concerning sex. In particular, this 2007 sermon delivered in Edinburgh was considered unacceptable:

During the sermon, which was entitled “Sex, a Study of the Good Bits from Song of Solomon,” Driscoll interpreted Song of Solomon 2:3 as referring to oral sex and then said, “Men, I am glad to report to you that oral sex is biblical…The wife performing oral sex on the husband is biblical. God’s men said, Amen. Ladies, your husbands appreciate oral sex. They do. So, serve them, love them well. It’s biblical. Right here. We have a verse. ‘The fruit of her husband is sweet to her taste and she delights to be beneath him.'”

The transcript of the sermon can be seen here. A similar talk on the same theme – part of a series called “The Peasent Princess” – can be seen here; just after 38:00 Driscoll cites a certain Joseph Dillow (also known as Jody Dillow) as his source for this exegesis. Dillow, an electrical engineer who went on to study at the Dallas Theological Seminary, is the author of Solomon on Sex (sometimes incorrectly cited as Solomon and Sex), which was published by Thomas Nelson in 1977; Dillow saw the passage as referring to an “oral genital caress”. This interpretation is also shared by the Skeptics’ Bible, although there the motive is primarily to annoy Christians.

Certainly, the Song of Solomon is a somewhat anomalous text in the Bible, but such a graphic reading of this largely metaphorical passage is something of a stretch. Commentators have suggested that probably simple kissing is intended, and they point out that there is no discussion of oral sex in comparable Egyptian love poetry. Plus, of course, the overall thrust of the Bible does not appear to favour marital kinkiness of any kind (I can’t imagine Saint Paul being very impressed), which suggests that Driscoll, as a Christian fundamentalist, is looking for a loop-hole for his own purposes.

However, Driscoll pushes the envelope somewhat further – not only has he found permission in the Bible, it appears to be a prescription:

[In recounting the story about the man who started coming to Driscoll’s church because his wife began performing oral sex:]

She [the wife] says, “I’ve never performed oral sex on my husband. I’ve refused to.” I said, “You need to go home and tell your husband that you’ve met Jesus and you’ve been studying the Bible, and that you’re convicted of a terrible sin in your life. And then you need to drop his trousers, and you need to serve your husband. And when he asks why, say, ‘Because I’m a repentant woman. God has changed my heart and I’m supposed to be a biblical wife.'” She says, “Really?” I said, “Yeah. First Peter 3 says if your husband is an unbeliever to serve him with deeds of kindness.” [Laughter from audience] How many men would agree, that is a deed of kindness. He doesn’t want tracts. Those won’t do anything. What we’re talking about here could really help.

Driscoll, it should be recalled, previously used the Ted Haggard male-prostitute scandal as an opportunity to opine that:

It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Driscoll’s sermon was given at the Destiny Church in Edinburgh, which is pastored by a certain Peter Anderson. According to the website of the mother church in Glasgow:

Pastor Andrew Owen describes the church as a contemporary apostolic Christian movement that thinks like social entrepreneurs.

Today, Destiny churches are established throughout Scotland, Germany, India, Ireland and Kenya. These churches are inter-dependant, and work together as a family of churches.

(Hat tip: Jesus’ General)