Driscoll's Horrible Histories

Dave Warnock (no relation to Adrian) has posted on What Driscoll really said about God and hate, partly in response to my own post on the matter, whose title, in the sincerest form of flattery no doubt, he has simply copied.

Alastair, in an update to his original post, gave links to audio files of three of Driscoll’s talks from his visit to Edinburgh:

But I note that the talks from the MenMakers conference are not available online, at least not from this site. These include the second talk on which I posted, the one in which, according to Adrian, Driscoll said a single man “cannot fully reflect God”.

Unlike me, Dave has in fact listened to one of Driscoll’s talks, the one on sex. He writes:

An interesting review of Church History, more akin to the Horrible Histories genre than anything else I have heard. … This is definitely not something you want to listen to if you are a single man.

Well, in that case, as a single man, I won’t listen to it, I will just recommend that you read Dave’s not exactly positive response. “Horrible Histories” indeed! I will copy that line, to flatter Dave.

0 thoughts on “Driscoll's Horrible Histories

  1. Not sure where Dave is coming from with this. Is he criticizing Driscoll for being honest about the abysmal failures the church had made on the issue of human sexuality? I am not sure why he suggests singles should not listen to this talk either. Unless one has taken a vow of lifelong celibacy, I would have thought this is a good preach to listen to, to counter-balance what the world tells us every day about sex.

  2. Peter,

    Thanks I am easily flattered.


    Why not for singles?

    1. Because Driscoll does not mention once that singleness might be a valid calling. He does not mention Jesus being single or Paul’s teaching on singleness.

    2. Because Driscoll mocks those who are single, teases them about being single because they do not wash.

    3. Because Driscoll has totally signed up to modern culture that says life without sex is not worth living (poor Jesus, can’t have been fully human then can he?), as sex is only available in marriage you must get married.

    4. This does not counterbalance the worlds view of sex. It simply legitimises all that men are taught be the world providing it is done within marriage. So now all women must become strippers for their husbands, all women are to initiate sex with their husbands because their husbands deserve it.

    As for the “honest” view of the past. Horrible Histories are not particularly dishonest, but they are designed to titillate, to mock. He ignores context (well what a surprise) and anything else they taught. Will the audience go away likely to read and respect Augustine and the others? If not then Driscoll has done them all a disservice.

  3. Dave

    You’ll find an email from me re: a comment I tried to make on your blog that was rejected as spam. I’d like to comment on something you put above as well.

    You said “He ignores context (well what a surprise) and anything else they taught. Will the audience go away likely to read and respect Augustine and the others? If not then Driscoll has done them all a disservice.”

    By your own standard, you are doing Driscoll a dis-service by failing to take into account the context of both this individual sermon and the wider context of his teaching.

    This particular sermon was clearly going to be all about sex within marriage. I fail to see how a sermon based out of Song of Songs could be anything but! While a valid critique may be that Driscoll could have mentioned that singleness is a valid calling, IMO it’s by no means essential in a talk on SoS. I’ve expanded more in my email to you, but suffice it to say here that I disagree with your interpretation of this sermon that leads to points 2, 3 and 4 above.

    Furthermore, placing this particular sermon in the context of Driscoll’s wider teaching ministry, it is clear that Driscoll does see singleness as a valid calling. But he places the emphasis on being *called* to it. He assumes that marriage is the default desirable state for people to be working towards, but also recognises, honours and makes room for those who are called by God to serve Him in singleness. What he is against is those who want to have their cake and eat it – serial monogamists who don’t want to commit to a spouse, because it would require major life changes like giving up their Playstation and more of their free time.

    In short, your post and comment above is not only, in my opinion, inaccurate regarding the content of the sermon but also seems to write off the totality of Driscoll’s teaching in a way that would discourage others to hear and respect him. How is that any worse than doing that to Augustine et al? Is it somehow ok just because Driscoll is still alive?

  4. Jon, the wider context of Driscoll’s talk include what he said the previous day at the MenMakers conference, which I discussed here. This was a talk on Genesis 1-3, not the Song of Songs, and so not necessarily about marriage. If he believes that singleness is a valid calling, why did he not say so in either talk, but rather imply the opposite by saying that a single man “cannot fully reflect God”? (Well, here I assume that Adrian reported that correctly, a questionable assumption.) Does he really “see singleness as a valid calling”? Is he contradicting himself? Has he changed his mind? Surely what he said last week should be given priority now over what you might be able to dig up from old sermons.

    I just spotted the irony in the situation that someone might listen to a talk entitled “Sex…” and end up with “An interesting review of Church History”. Enough to put most people off Driscoll for life!

  5. Good point Peter. I’m afraid that, although I was at the Friday night thing and have downloaded the publicly available sermons, I wasn’t at the conference on the Saturday so can’t comment on that more immediate wider context.

    I know from other sermons I have heard (not least his sermons from when he went through 1 Corinthians with Mars Hill) that he does regard singleness as a valid calling. I’m not certain that last week should be given priority over older sermons unless he explicitly says “Now I’ve taught this before, but now I’m saying this…”

    Either way, I would still uphold that Dave is guilty with Driscoll of the same thing he accuse Driscoll of re: the early church fathers. But that’s just my opinion.

  6. I would also add for others reading this that on this occasion I wouldn’t trust Dave’s assessment of what is in the sermon about Song of Songs. Having listened to it myself, while I can see what sections of the sermon gives rise to some of Dave’s comments, I think that Dave is misinterpreting both Driscoll’s intent and communicated opinion.

    If you are at all interested in this sort of subject area, it’s worth a listen. If you end up disagreeing, at least you’ll be disagreeing with what Driscoll actually said and not one man’s characterisation of it – which goes equally well for Adrian’s summary of the conference sessions, and any 2nd hand report of what someone said!

  7. Thanks, Jon. Maybe I should listen to the talk, when I have time. I would also listen to the MenMakers talk on Genesis if it were available online.

    I make no comment what you say about Dave’s opinion of Driscoll and of the Fathers. But please note that I oppose false teaching equally strenuously, although hopefully with fairness and respect, whether it is from a Father like Augustine or from Driscoll.

  8. I see that Dave has posted more on this subject, including this time some detail of what Driscoll said about sex. It is now clear that the talk was a lot more than “An interesting review of Church History”, it really was also about “the Good Bits from the Song of Solomon”. But given how explicit the talk seems to have been I now see another side to why Dave considered it “definitely not something you want to listen to if you are a single man”. Sorry, Jon, but I now think it best if I don’t listen to it. Indeed I think a similar warning is needed for Dave’s post.

  9. Jon,

    I take on board some of your points but not all.

    It maybe that Mark Driscoll preaches excellent things on singleness elsewhere but there is no reference at all to it in anything we have heard or read about at menmakers. I do feel that there needed to be something said by Mark in this talk on Sex to say this is not the whole picture. Also just because you preach correct theology elsewhere on singleness does not make incorrect theology here acceptable.

    As for whether I am guilty of being harder on Driscoll for bad theology than I am on Augustine. I accept that I am probably guilty as charged. I don’t pretend to be an expert on all theology or that I will go through all the theologians who have existed in order to achieve balance. I try to be honest about false teaching where I find it, but there is no doubt far more than I will not find.

    In my defence, whose bad theology is likely to have greatest impact today. Augustine (who has been subject to scrutiny for centuries) or Driscoll who is achieving hero worship status today.

    I promise I will sit down with Jane and listen to this talk again, this time together, to see if I have been unfair.

    However, I still notice that nobody has felt called to defend the presentation of Genesis 1 and 2 in the talk.

  10. Fair enough, Dave. I also take on board why you’re likely to be harder on Driscoll than Augustine.

    I appreciate your commitment to listen again to double check the accuracy of what you have heard. I will try and find some time to listen again in light of the points you have made.

    God bless

  11. “It maybe that Mark Driscoll preaches excellent things on singleness elsewhere but there is no reference at all to it in anything we have heard or read about at menmakers.”

    1) I have heard more teaching on singleness from Mark Driscoll than any other preacher, including the various churches I have attended since I became a Christian. I say this with all sincerity. If we are to start condemning our preachers and teachers and pastors on this score, there would few left in my own town (Edinburgh).

    2) Since when does a preacher have to speak on every possible topic in 1 one hour? Mark has said on record he does not like doing “one-shot preaches” precisely for this sort of reason: all the criticism about the stuff he didn’t say.

    3) Do not trust what you read and hear about menmakers, if you were not at the event. I was there for the entire event, and singleness was discussed at some length in the afternoon.

    4) Given that statistically most of the singles in the audience at menmakers will end up married, its only right for him to focus his teaching in that way.

  12. Alastair, I agree that many preachers are culpable for not teaching about singleness at all. But Driscoll is more culpable for giving wrong teaching on the subject. If his teaching were simply unbalanced, I would accept your arguments. But his teaching, as reported by Adrian (“a single man “cannot fully reflect God””) and Dave (“Mark totally ignores anything (in all I have listened to) about being called to singleness, about the singleness of Jesus, about Paul’s teaching. Instead he seems to blame singleness and issues with sex entirely on people he mocks from Church History.”) from two separate talks, is actually wrong. That I cannot accept. Of course it may be that both Warnocks have given misleading reports, that I cannot judge.

    Meanwhile I look forward to a detailed description of what he actually said about singleness at MenMakers in the afternoon.

    statistically most of the singles in the audience at menmakers will end up married

    Don’t be so sure of it. Not, I think, if they are typical of the population at large.

  13. To complain that singleness is not addressed in a talk about married sexuality is just silly. Therefore I reject out-of-hand this charge.

    The other comments concerning Menmakers itself, are worthy of further debate, to be sure. However until I obtain the Menmakers mp3s I will not say anything further here. I will repeat again that it appears Dave Warnock’s comments are based on Adrian Warnock’s comments, who himself admits did not attend the entire conference. We cannot complain Driscoll did not talk about singleness if we base our reports on someone who left half-way through the conference, and left before the discussion on singleness!

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