Mark Driscoll on Women in Ministry

I wrote last month about an article that Jim Hamilton and I have written for the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. In our research for this article, we obtained Pastor Mark Driscoll’s position statement on church leadership, which was published as a little booklet titled Church Leadership. According to Mars Hill Church’s website, this booklet and others from their “Theology Series” are slated to be published by Crossway in 2008. So you can no longer download Church Leadership from the church’s website. You’ll have to wait for the book.

In any case, we were interested in Driscoll’s book because we were trying to figure out what his views are on women in ministry. The short answer is that in Driscoll’s church, all ministries are open to qualified women with the singular exception that women cannot be ordained as pastors/elders. Driscoll appeals to numerous biblical texts to establish this position. But I thought readers might be interested to see some of Driscoll’s interpretation and application of 1 Timothy 2:12-14.

Here is Driscoll in his own words [WARNING: Some coarse material follows]:

Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed. . . Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies. . . and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality (p. 43).

For our response to Driscoll’s interpretation, you’ll have to read the forthcoming JBMW 12.2 (2007).

Bibliographical Info:
Mark Driscoll, Church Leadership: Explaining the Roles of Jesus, Elders, Deacons, and Members at Mars Hill, Mars Hill Theology Series (Seattle, WA: Mars Hill Church, 2004).

58 Responses to Mark Driscoll on Women in Ministry

  1. Luke Britt July 5, 2007 at 8:07 am #

    Mark is so gentle.

  2. Carisa July 5, 2007 at 8:40 am #

    You know…it was a good thing that Jesus knew that when He had women go back and inform the men that He was resurrected…the one thing that Paul says is central to Christianity. :-) I can’t wait until we get to the new earth where all of this bickering will come to an end and we will finally really know what God’s real intention has been for brothers and sisters. And when the correct import and interpretation of all such texts is finally made clear. One day the body will be one and men and women will function as God always intended us to! Come Lord Jesus, Come!

  3. dennyrburk July 5, 2007 at 9:11 am #

    Carisa,

    Thanks for the comment. For what it’s worth, I’m a complementarian, and I do not agree with Driscoll’s interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:14. I think this is one place where the interpreters of the great tradition are wrong.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  4. Carisa July 5, 2007 at 9:32 am #

    Thanks, Denny. I have complementarian leanings myself. I think how a person holds a position and communicates that is just as important as the position held and the reasons why. A lesson for us all to learn.

  5. Brandon July 5, 2007 at 11:12 am #

    Hi Denny,

    Just curious as this issue has been weighing heavily on me for the past year, but on what points do you disagree with Mark’s interpretation of 1 Tim 2:14? His interpretation that women should not be pastors/elders, or that ‘women are more gullible and easier deceived than men’, or something else?

    Thanks!

  6. dennyrburk July 5, 2007 at 1:15 pm #

    Brandon (#5),

    I agree with Driscoll that the office of elder/pastor is limited to qualified men. I disagree with the interpretation that says that women are more “gullible” than men. On the latter point, I am in agreement with Doug Moo’s interpretation, which you can read here on pages 184-86.

    Thanks,
    Denny Burk

  7. Matthew July 5, 2007 at 1:24 pm #

    The inverse of Driscoll’s statement is the set of men who push their girlfriends into pornography, then casual sex, then an abortion. These men are not fair stereotypes of male leadership in the church. In the same way, the image of women presented by secular men’s and women’s magazines are not fair stereotypes of women in the church.

  8. Alex Chediak July 5, 2007 at 8:42 pm #

    I recall hearing John Piper give some good messages on this text.

    Looking forward to the paper, Denny.

  9. Mike Bird July 6, 2007 at 7:41 am #

    Denny,
    How can this be conceived as anything other than sexist drivel? Driscoll is saying, quite clearly, that women cannot lead because they are just plain stupid or intellectually inferior to men. I do not think a compl. interpretation of 1 Tim 2 should lead to this kind of denigrating rhetoric.

  10. Mike Bird July 6, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    Oh yeah, and another thing. If women are so gullible, naive, etc. why do we trust them to do anything of importance like manage a household and raise children? If women are really this stupid they should not even boil an egg without supervision.

  11. Bryan L July 6, 2007 at 9:25 am #

    I agree with Mike. It is quite appalling that he would say something like this. I don’t know if there is some wider context that this needs to be read in, but I can see why people get so upset over what he says, and I’m even more baffled at why people try to defend him. If I were a complementarian I wouldn’t want him as my ally (in terms of spreading the complementarian message).

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  12. dennyrburk July 6, 2007 at 9:29 am #

    Dear Mike (#10 and #11),

    I don’t agree with Driscoll’s tone or his interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12-14. His rhetoric is not representative of complementarians.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  13. Bryan L July 6, 2007 at 12:01 pm #

    I’m glad you are publicly saying so Denny.
    Thanks,

    Bryan L

  14. Mike Bird July 6, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    Denny,
    Thanks. I was not implying that you were endorsing his statement. I look forward to reading your response to Driscoll in JBMW. His comments are strange for someone who might be considered a “soft” complementarian.

  15. steve small July 6, 2007 at 11:19 pm #

    Denny,
    I really like your concise style. Worth reading, always. I’m not surprised by Driscoll’s view, nor impressed. At the Desiring God Conference this past year, I saw Driscoll trying to be like Elvis, and the other speakers (D.A. Carson, Piper, David Wells) reminding me more of Christ.
    I’ve learned that Driscoll is wisked away in a waiting car after each Sunday’s sermon (Elvis has left the building). Perhaps after statements as ridiculous as these on 2 Timothy 2:14-15, he may not survive the traditional pastor’s handshaking at the end of the service!
    Keep up the good work!

  16. Cheryl at MM Outreach July 7, 2007 at 4:39 pm #

    My son went to a Pastor’s conference where Mark Driscoll spoke and he said that Mark’s comments about women greatly offended the women and he too was highly offended. Mark’s teaching seems to be aimed at attracting “macho” men and he blames the women for feminization of the church. He seems to think that it is okay to offend the women in order to attract the men because the more men you have in the church the better the church will function. It is so sad that a brother in Christ will so readily attack his sisters in the Lord to gain the praise of men.

    The Bible says that we are not allowed to say “I do not need you”. Paul said in 1 Cor. 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

    You will note that men are not saying that women and children don’t need her. However so many men are saying “*I* don’t need you”. Men see no need for a woman to teach him anything from God’s word. It is a sad day when God’s gifts through a woman are denied by men who say to a woman teacher “*I* don’t you”. We are a united body and Jesus has been pleased to distribute his gifts among us so that we all need each other. I as a woman teacher need men teachers. You have much to offer me. But men also need women teachers too. Our perspective is valuable as well. When men say that women are equal with men in value, but they actually mean that women are equal with men in value *only* in God’s eyes but not in *the man’s* eyes, it is a sad state for the body to be in.

    My Pastor who is a follower of Mark Driscoll recently preached a Father’s day sermon that was equally as offensive. God help us when we think it is okay to offend the women in our midst whom God has chosen as his own. Jesus never talked this way, and he did not offend those who were his own including women.

    • Rainwink007 October 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

      Cheryl, thank you for such a great answer. As a female ordained elder (ordained along with my husband), I find it ludicrous that Driscoll believes women are not “fit” for eldership/pastoral ministry. God’s ability to use me is not limited to my gender, or even marital status. And I have no idea why Luke Britt (commenter) is criticizing you for “bashing” your pastor, which you are obviously not. Thank you for taking a stand against misogyny in the church.

      • Cheryl October 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

        It is a pleasure to stand up for my sisters in Christ.

  17. Luke Britt July 7, 2007 at 6:03 pm #

    Cheryl,

    It may not be a good idea to blast your pastor on a blog. Just a suggestion for unity.

    • Cheryl October 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      Since my original statement was written, my (former) pastor has had a change of heart and he now embraces women in ministry!

  18. Cheryl at MM Outreach July 7, 2007 at 6:14 pm #

    Luke,

    I am not blasting my Pastor. I have done everything I know to help him and what I said was not said in anger. It is a miracle actually that I am still attending his church. He has agreed to walk with me through scripture regarding women in ministry but we are not at all sure that we will continue to attend since he is speaking against women along the exact same lines as Mark Driscoll. This is not unity when women are told that God does not use them. We need to lovingly confront those who hurt part of the body of Christ.

  19. Don F July 8, 2007 at 3:57 pm #

    In reading Driscoll’s comments I guess he oll forgot that Adam also ate the forbidden fruit, and of his own free wiil. But I’m sure he has an explanation for that. Also, while he is probably right about the content of some of todays popular women’s magazines, he needs to take a gander at what some of today’s popular men’s magazines encourage men to be like. I agree that I do not believe women should hold the role of a pastor, but certainly not for the same reasons as Mark Driscoll’s ill irterpretation of Scripture. However, I do not believe proper interpretation of this Scripture negates women from roles of leadership. I must also add, that we need to be more careful who we are chosing in leadership roles male or female. I have seen many men in leadership roles that should not be and it only leads to problems – personally and in the church as a whole.

  20. Phil July 8, 2007 at 4:09 pm #

    When it comes to Mark Driscoll speaking on gender and gender attributes, I’m beginning to wonder if a paraphrase of the great Bard is in order: “Methinks he doth project too much.”

  21. Andy July 9, 2007 at 11:42 pm #

    1 Timothy 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

  22. JGray July 11, 2007 at 7:55 am #

    I believe my position on this would be the same as Denny’s.

    That being said, I think some of you have seen Driscoll’s harsh tone and misunderstood the bigger picture of what he’s trying to say. (That’s part of the reason I disagree with his rhetoric, it confuses the issue at times.)

    He did not say that “God does not use women” as Cheryl has stated. That is simply unfair. He does not believe that, nor do any complementarians.
    What he said has a lot of truth behind it. He gives some very fair anecdotal comments…but no doubt, those were lost in the rhetoric.

    But it seems that most of the comments about this topic are less about Driscolls rhetoric or interpretation, and more about his theological understanding of complementarianism.
    I think the same people would have the same issues even if Driscoll was nice about saying it, and only said women cannot be pastors or elders. At least it appears that way with some (for example, Cheryl, saying that it is offensive to women to disallow women as pastors and DonF saying the exact opposite thing that this passage says…to which Adam rightly posted the text.)

    I do not agree with his tone (and I am pretty sure I disagree with his understanding of women being more gullible, but I am working through that) and a lot of the rhetoric…but Driscoll is not some unlearned neanderthal…he is a man who loves his people, loves the Word of God, and loves Christ. You may disagree with him, but there is no reason to attack him.

  23. Cheryl at MM Outreach July 11, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    JGray said: He did not say that “God does not use women” as Cheryl has stated.

    You have misrepresented what I said. I did not say that Mark Driscoll said this, I said that my Pastor was following Mark Driscoll and it was my Pastor who said this. On Father’s day my Pastor listed all the men that God used and he said that God uses only men.

    JGray also said: “I think the same people would have the same issues even if Driscoll was nice about saying it, and only said women cannot be pastors or elders. At least it appears that way with some (for example, Cheryl, saying that it is offensive to women to disallow women as pastors…)”

    Where are you getting this from? I did not say that Mark Driscoll was offensive because he doesn’t allow women Pastors. There are many excellent Pastors who do not allow women Pastors but they are not offensive in their view of women. I said that my son went to a conference where Mark was speaking and what Mark said offended the women. I didn’t even mention what Mark said about women that offended the women (and also my son!) so how could you read into in my words?

    I do give Mark much credit for being able to very effectively present the gospel. He communicates the gospel in a very compelling way and he is to be greatly commended for that. However while he makes a special effort to reach macho men, in the process he offends women whom Christ also died for. This results in women being offended and believing that the church sees women as unimportant and somehow inferior. I could never think of bringing an unsaved woman into one of his services where he, for example, speaks about the feminization of the church. He does not hide the fact that he is trying to reach macho men, and his offensive remarks about women seem to fit his mission of reaching men.

  24. Matthew July 11, 2007 at 12:17 pm #

    What he said has a lot of truth behind it. He gives some very fair anecdotal comments…but no doubt, those were lost in the rhetoric.

    JGray,

    Not sure I get your point. In the given quote, Driscoll essentially says this:
    Point: Paul says women are more gullible than men; therefore unfit to lead men.
    Evidence: Women’s magazines

    When you say that Driscoll offered fair anecdotal evidence, did you mean something in the larger context instead of within this particular quote? Also, you say you disagree that women are more gullible, yet, that was THE point of this quote. This would mean that you disagree with the point of the entire quote in question, not to mention its offensive rhetoric.

    Does this mean that the main goal of your post was to A) defend Driscoll as a person and B) speak up for complementarianism in general? Or have I misread you altogether?

  25. JGray July 11, 2007 at 1:53 pm #

    I meant in the larger context of his statements…not just the section quoted above. That section is just one very small part of his discussion on these issues.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  26. Jan July 13, 2007 at 10:57 pm #

    I have one thing to say:

    I, a woman, left a church because the male leadership were more inclined to follow trendy ideas to grow the church and were not as serious (admittedly this is a judgement call)about educating the body in the Bible, theology, and a Christian worldview. They were gullible in following recent “new ideas” about spirituality. The only others that I am aware of who recognized this issue are other women…

    P.S. I now attend a PCA church! :)

  27. Heather December 2, 2007 at 12:21 pm #

    I feel it is so unfortunate that such an offence has been taken to the whole subject. Woman and men are different, physically and mentally.

    Testosterone and Estrogen.
    Prison male inmates have estrogen available to them but not testosterone. This is because estrogen makes the inmate more docile and easy-going.

    I was hooked on a psychology magazine that was in the men’s section because it was straightforward and gave the raw facts without including self-help or emotional inspiration. The next month the psychology magazine was in the woman’s section and was meant to appeal to Woman. The change was self-help material.

    My point is no matter how you argue woman are just as equally capable as men you can ignore the facts. Men and Woman are built to be more capable for jobs on different ends. The man is to lead, he has the physical strength to protect and be assertive in his role. The Woman is to support and nurture. A woman provides a life.

    As a woman I find it more offensive to hear this kind of complaining from other woman. This is exactly the problem that prompted the verse in the bible. Emotional bickering drawing attention away from the church.

    Women are more powerful then men. We can sway the attention from the most important tasks. Look how easily this one subject blew up. If you are one of the women who were deeply offended you were called emotional, quit crying because it proves you are. Truth is most women are gullible/ emotional and not capable of leading a church. Whining about that not being fair is embarrassing. A woman should be strong and passionate about supporting what she values. Not taking the opportunity to whine about a statement suggesting she was weak.

    The things that pastor says about his wife should show he has the utmost respect for her as a woman. She is the Queen to him. He spoke the truth and I could go on with facts and statistics to support my opinion. The world we live in is overly emotional. You can get sued for calling someone stupid; name-calling can cause posttraumatic stress. A pastor explained the facts and it hurt people’s feelings. Divided a church that God blessed and used to saved hundreds of people All over hurt feelings and the truth.

  28. Kyle May 13, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    It seems to me that the issue of gullibility is not the bedrock of Paul’s argument. Paul instead appeals to creation order: Adam was created first. Eve’s being deceived does not negate her from further service. Instead, Paul seems to be giving an example of the last time that creation order was not followed: Eve was deceived, and Adam stood their like a goof and let her do it. Eve was not led and Adam did not lead. Instead, Eve led and Adam followed. Genesis 3 is a reversal of what it was supposed to be. Paul, in my opinion, is arguing for a return to the created order: Men lead.

  29. Madie December 24, 2008 at 1:33 pm #

    If Mark would only take into consideration historical context to the passage in 1 Timothy, what was happening at THAT time and made his interpretation based on the year 62-66 A.D. and not the present I believe his interpretation would be quite different. If he would have taken into consideration the greek and hebrew translations maybe his thoughts would be different. I dont pass judgement. But I do think we need to be careful of not putting our own present feelings into something that was written to a different culture and age. Does that mean we don’t take timeless truths from the bible? No! We absolutely take the things that stand timeless as truth and how we live our lives. The issue is trying not to force a letter written in 62ad into what we want it to be.

    During that time women were treated no better then dogs. The greeks, romans and even jews forged chains on women that would last for thousands of years. Saying women were a curse, less valuable then a man, and should be avoided. When Jesus came in, he showed a different view on women. How radical it was! From dealing with a crippled woman at the synagogue, to sharing some of the most important messages to women, to having the woman at the well evangelize to her whole town! He treated them as images of God. Not something lower. Again. Radical. Paul shared similar views and sadly, he is sometimes known as this woman hater in the Bible. So not true. Read 1 cor 11:2-16, 1 cor 14:26-40 and so many more.

    My last thoughts come from one of my fav. books called, “why not women” by loren cunningham and david hamilton. I know both and some of the wisest minds I know. Davids final words are these:

    It is time for us to rethink some of our oldest beliefs and traditions. It is time for us to repent for whatever ways we have hindered God’s work and misread His word. It is time for us to release women to be all that God has called them to be. It is time.

    Release women to be all that we are called to be. I think God has been heartbroken, dare I say “emotional” eh hem, of the mistreatment of women from the very start to even know. All over women are oppressed and beaten. Let us see each other as equals and partners. As I’ve heard it said… God did not make Eve from Adams skull to reside over him, nor from Adams foot to be below him… but from his ribs. To stand side by side. Partners.

    • Michael August 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      You are correct that we need to look at the historical and cultural context of scripture. However, Paul used the Fall of Man account in Genesis 3 to show the consequence of the role reversal. He is indirectly referencing the Pre-Fall order that God has exclaimed to be good and very good.

      You are also correct that we shouldn’t get our feelings and emotions involved, but we begin to because of the cultural and historical values and expectations of today. It’s a bit arrogant and bias to believe that we are morally superior; although Christianity is NOT about morality. Paul was not using cultural reasons, he was using biblical and theological reasons.

      You are also correct with the fact that during those days women were treat like dogs, and yes Jesus was revolutionary the way he treated women. However that does not refute the Paul’s charge of not allowing women to lead men. Remember the 12 that Jesus chose were all male. Yes, I’ve heard the arguement that if Jesus was here today he would have had women on the team. I disagree because 1) Look back at the previous paragraph and 2) Jesus is God and He turned everything upside down against culture and the religous organization at the time, there is absolutely no reason why he wouldn’t have chosen women to be part of the 12 disciples other than the fact that He wanted males in their proper roles.

      Heather and Emma made very good points and I agree with them.
      Men and women are equal, but we have different roles. You cannot confuse equality and having the same roles. The union of man and woman (marriage) is suppose to be the closest thing of experiencing the unity and love the Trinity has had for eternity. Just as God the Father, Christ the Son, The Holy Spirit are one – God, each with distinct roles yet equal and the same, man and woman are one. The Jesus was God yet he submitted to the Father’s will.

  30. Emma January 28, 2009 at 6:53 am #

    Yes I love this saying I’ve heard it before. I believe this is how the church, mark Driscoll and other male leaders see women. They adore and cherish women. They see the gifts they have and admire them.

    Following on from Heathers comment I believe we, as women should look to what God has given us. I have studies a psychology degree and also see how male and female are made so different in terms of emotion, abilities, hormones, cognition etc. From studying this subject for five years I am utterly convinced that God made us male and female for a reason… we are both made in the image of God and by embracing not fighting against these differences we can create a healthy environment to flourish and grow. Male and female side by side.

    An all male church world not work without the important input of women and their gifts and vise versa. A church resentful of other peoples roles will not work either. We need to stop arguing and look to what God has given us and embrace it.

    We are coming into a day and age where women don’t seem to embrace this difference but battle against it. I think this is sad.

  31. AshM February 18, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    Denny
    Bill O’reilly would not be please with your spin on this issue. All one needs to do is look at the picture of Mark Driscoll you posted and it is obvious that your take is not one that is fair and balanced. Take or leave his opinion/interpretation on scripture at least you know where the dude stands. Most folks dont speak their heart or their mind if they know its going to ruffle feather or hurt feelings. Its admirable.

  32. NickC March 30, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    It was once said that only those that say nothing offend no one.

    I have found a lot of entries online about how terrible Mark Driscoll is, because of one comment or another that he has made, but then these people will state that to truly understand the bible, then you must have an overall veiw of the whole 66 books.

    This is correct, you must – yet they will take a soundbite from a sermon and then build a church on it.

    There is a lot of misunderstanding, offence and confusion over the whole women in ministry debate, and I’ve found in my dealings with both men and women that the general consensus largely from women is that they want a man who will lead them, support them, love them, care for them and do right by them. Most of the women I’ve asked don’t actually want to lead the household – they want to manage the house, because there is something intrinsic in their nature that desires to be the homemaker, but when it comes to big decisions, vision and leadership, they want to be able to depend on their husband to take the responsibility in this.

    I have seen this many times, and I’ve also seen it modelled the other way around – where men act like little boys who want their wife to make all the decisions, look after the kids, and let them play on the xBox until dinner’s ready. The women in the second scenario are often stressed and a little unhappy, but don’t know why. This isn’t of course, universally true – there are women who love to lead and are good at it.

    The difference between home and church is really one of scale – there are other differences of course, but I don’t want to go into that. The basic idea I want to get across is that home life should be a reflection of church life. If the father loves, supports, leads, guides, teaches and provides for the family, there is usually less rebellion and more happiness within that family. If the wife is forced to lead, then she is spread across more areas of life and thus more stressed out. The children take the cue from the father that it is okay to slack, and so the wife must pick up yet more weight.

    In church, men and women should work together to build something that would be better and more alive than without the other half, but to do so must be done in a manner that is biblical and right.

    As a whole, men are granted a leadership gift – if the wife comes to church without the husband, then chances are the kids won’t (i can’t remember statis – it’s something like 75% chance they won’t). If the man goes to church without the wife, then there is a much higher chance that the kids will (something like 75% chance they will).

    There are many cases in life where you see men leading because they are designed to, whereas women often lead because they have to – often when the men won’t step up and lead.

    Men are called to lead and to take on that responsibility. They are called to love and support their family. That responsibility should not be taken with an authoritarian attitude – that’s wrong and evil, it should instead be one of humble servant leadership that allows the children to grow into men and women of God, and where the husband and wife enjoy different, but equally valued roles. When the big decisions should be made, the husband should take council from his wife – she knows him, the family and the situation better than anyone, add that to his own thoughts and ideas and make the final decision on what to do. Then if it all hits the fan, it is the husband’s responsibility.

    In a church context, this leadership gift has to be strong and already well-honed. Family is the greatest teacher, and a man who has learned to lead a family well and has leadership annointing should arguably be able to lead a church well – for they have spent time growing as leaders in another context.

    For a woman to lead a church would require years of leading in family, and other areas of life. This can and does happen, but if you look at people, spend time talking to them and listen to them – and pick ones from different cultures and contexts, you inevitably find that women gravitate toward a supportive role, whilst men gravitate toward the leadership and decision making role. This isn’t sexism, this is just life.

    This natural inclination has been completely distorted by idiots in the past – by men who take this to mean that women are commodities, and then women lashing out against this (evil) attitude. This has caused so much evil, division and hatred in our world that we can only see it as being demonic – not women or men, but the attitude that somehow one role is greater than the other, or one sex better than the other.

    Men should love their wivess and lovingly lead them by dying to self, as Christ did for the church and women should understand that and lovingly speak into her husband’s life in all things in all ways, but be willing to step back at the final decision.

    As for Driscoll? Having read all his books, I believe that what I have written above is a close approximation to his heart. His words are sometimes less thought-out than perhaps they could be, but if we have no grace for others that allows us to understand the heart behind the vocabulary, and no patience to seek the heart in the first place, then why are we even judging? Are we simply clanging cymbals and noisy gongs?

    Finally, please allow me to apologise for my long post and repetition, I am very tired and this is an issue very close to my heart. I love my partner very much and long to see her released to soar like an eagle in the things that God has for her – but her natural inclination to hand responsibility over to me to lead has been distorted by a post-modern femenistic attitude that tells her that she shouldn’t want that, or indeed a man in the first place.

    God Bless all of you who seek Jesus diligantly and I trust you will find your answer with Him personally.

  33. Kim April 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    Just happened onto this conversation. Not a new discussion, but always interesting. However, what do we do with the historical character/person of Deborah? She was the ultimate leader and judge of a nation. She was married, and was honoured in scriptures for taking the leadership that God gave her – to the point of leading the army as well… what about Junius, a woman mentioned by Paul as a fellow apostle? What about Marion, mentioned as a fellow leader of the hebrew people when leaving Egypt? And Priscilla? What about Timothy’s mother and grandmother – who were mentioned by Timothy himself as instrumental – having taught him. Then there are the scores of Christian women leaders over the past decades who have lived, and some died in leadership.

  34. Sue April 21, 2009 at 3:21 am #

    Junia, but you are right, Kim. Also Huldah, not so gullible. In this funancial climate women have been priven to be excellent leaders – more risk averse. A mother will want the one less likely to take risks to make the final decision for a family.

  35. Hayley January 19, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    I don’t see Mark as to be putting down women when he says these things.

    Generally, women are more suseptible to be lead astray by our emotions and be bogged down by criticism. Look how we ever criticize ourselves! (I think this is what Mark is talking about in relation to magazines etc).

    I think God did intend for men to lead a family and be the head, and be accountable for his family. So he built men strong, resilient, critical and logical, and women compassionate, intelligent and complimentary to that.

    If he had made both genders responsible for leading, it’d be chaos. And it definately is chaos these days, because men have it in them to want to lead, but (being human) can get lazy, irresponsible or abusive which leaves the women left to take lead of their family.

    I don’t have a problem with a Godly man leading my family one bit, because the only leadership you can trust, even more than yourself, is leadership coming from God’s will, right?

    I think that maybe in a perfect world, women wouldn’t feel like we’re being dishonored by not being the leader. Their man would take care of them, love them, delight in listening to them, provide for them and protect them. They would take all the blows like strong men should. And, just like God held Adam accountable in Genesis for what Eve had done, would be accountable to God for their families.

  36. a.k. January 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    My question is this:

    Given that men commit the vast majority of violent and sexual crimes in the world, why do we consider them unaffected by emotion? Are anger, rage, and jealousy not emotions? Why are women “emotional” because sometimes certain women cry rather than yell/hit?

    Furthermore, Driscoll & his followers are obsessed with conforming to culture. Women were fundamental members of early churches – many of the earliest Christian inscriptions are on female tombs. No one said anything about a feminized church back then. And many of the behaviors Driscoll finds “feminine” were commonplace for men, even just 100 years ago. Examples include:
    * long hair or using hair products (check out portraits of American founding fathers and Native Americans, not to mention the warriors in the Iliad, who are described as having flowing, beautiful hair) * crying/weeping (Odysseus cries throughout the Odyssey; Achilles weeps in the Iliad; David & Paul & Jesus & numerous OT figures all cry)
    * poetry/hymns (poets and songwriters were/are overwhelmingly male)
    * expressing unabashed love for Jesus or Jesus’ unabashed love for us (see all those early hymns written by men)
    * sweet food/drink/coffee (women were banned from coffeehouses during their initial heyday. If you think women pioneered luxurious or sweet foods, you are very wrong – they began as royal concoctions made for kings. Because women naturally have more body fat than men, they are often considered more gluttonous or “softer” when it comes to food – nevermind the countless women who lived severely ascetic lives, even dying from their extreme fasting.)

  37. Donald Johnson January 31, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Many things that are considered masculine or feminine are not inherently so, they are just culture and culture can change and be different in different times and places.

    When lace was first invented, women were forbidden to wear it as it was considered too masculine an adornment.

  38. a.k. February 2, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    I agree, Donald. I just wonder why people are still writing books on raising “masculine boys” and so forth. Are we as Christians to emulate the current culture to this obsessive extent?

    I do not hate Mark Driscoll and his like. But without a doubt, his use of stereotypes and select bits of modern culture to prove that females are more gullible/emotional/irrational will turn intelligent women away from a right view of Scripture. He is advocating attitudes that shape not only the world’s view of women, but also the psyches of individual women.

    Some of the comments here are very concerning, as they appear to be made by women who advocate a sweeping generalization of females as irrational, unable to cope with criticism, driven astray by some kind of devilish “emotion,” masochistic…

    I recently attended a Christian women’s retreat organized by my own church, which is essentially PCA in doctrine (but includes female deacons, giving as basis numerous ancient testimonia for this practice). The women in attendance were smart, devoted Christians, many with master’s and/or doctoral degrees. Upon attending a mentorship seminar, the opening discussion question asked primarily, “Who are we? What is our identity/character?” – essentially asking why we had signed up for the mentorship seminar. I was shocked that the flood of answers focused on how we as women were “emotional,” “nurturing,” “maternal,” “social creatures,” “talkative,” “caring,” and so forth. The lack of focus on the Bible or on Christ was disheartening.

    This is what we’re teaching women as their identity. The Church is teaching it so well that when asked a question about our identity and character, smart & capable women either believe that the stereotypes above serve as the glue holding our gender together, or they think that those cultural generalizations were the expected (i.e. correct) responses to the leader’s inquiry.

    As someone who defines herself as a child of God and a follower of Christ – as well as a rational, educated human being – I don’t have patience for these stereotypes. By cultivating an attitude that defines women as the cultural antithesis of man, the Church shuts out women who do not identify with society’s gender-specific generalizations. I’m tired of being told that I’m an “exception” & thus I shouldn’t be upset by the Church’s consecration of secular stereotypes.

    I was quite disappointed to read Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood and find generalizations about the nature of men/women mixed into some of the scholarly discussions. Many will be induced, I am sure, to regard all the “evidence” cited in certain chapters as on equal footing, especially if they lack historical or philological training.

  39. Lilith April 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Whew! Well put A.K.! Well put. Though I left the church & christianity 7 years ago never to return because of forced gender roles. I left religion entirely. Such the weight that was lifted from my shoulders. I am accountable to myself and find I’m a much better person for it. Peace.

  40. amy September 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    I can’t believe there are people in this world who believe in theology like this. This is why people who aren’t Christians hate Christians.

  41. Diana October 18, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    I wonder if Mark knows that over 95% of all magazines on the grocery shelf have MEN as their editor’s in Chief who make all the decisions of what goes in them.

  42. S L Glahn November 13, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    In the Roman world a major concern about men was that they were too emotional. I believe that’s why in the verses immediately preceding those quoted above about women we find men admonished to control their anger (1 Tim 2:8).

    Modesty, not emotionalism, was the core concern about women, and that modesty included both avoiding provocative dress and keeping symbols of social power (pearls–the diamonds of the day–and braids that took three hours to do) out of the assembly.

    Interestingly, in 2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul expresses his concern about ALL believers being vulnerable to the serpent’s deception. Such vulnerability is not a female thing, it’s a human thing.

    Christian men and women need each other in and outside of the home. We must partner both in “having dominion” and in filling the earth. We were both made for both. We need both. A woman’s pain AND her childbearing were “multiplied”–her dominion and her reproduction were affected by the fall. She was deceived, but Adam knew what he was doing and did it anyway.

    Only in Christ can we find gender unity again. And part of being Christlike is being full of love, gentleness, and kindness. “Do unto others…” I appreciate those who have acknowledged that to some of us Driscoll’s words felt mean and rude. But “Love is not rude.” Such empathy shows the ability to imagine how someone else might hear what is being said.

    In Acts 2 we see both men and women, old and young, upper class and slaves, all speaking as they’re filled with the Spirit. If we were present at Pentecost, would we bemoan the phenomenon as failure of male leadership? I sincerely hope not. In the future we will again see such race/class/gender divisions demolished by the Spirit. I hope we embrace it when it happens.

    Thank you esp to those complementarians who spoke up and said, “This isn’t right.”

  43. Blair April 30, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    From my understanding of Genesis, both man and woman were deceived. The woman more than the man?? I don’t think so!! to use that to disqualify women from the Pastor roll today and to quote the 1 Tim 2 passage to qualify his position is bias not theology. Anyway on Marks]s theology women will be saved by childbirth so don’t bother evangelising females.

  44. Donald Johnson April 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    ESV 1Ti 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;
    1Ti 2:14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

    The words for the woman was deceived means she was thoroughly deceived and this is specifically contrasted by the man, who was not deceived, he did it with full knowledge he was breaking a command.

  45. Blair April 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Interesting that the Genesis account of Adam makes it clear that he is incomplete or lacking on his own. By providing a woman Adam and all men are made complete. Just as a woman completes a man, so too does a man complete a woman.
    All I see in this and the whole Genesis story is gender equality.
    Mark like most anti woman pastors cannot separate the gender roles in the home from that in the church. Nowhere do I read where ministry hierarchy is compared to the home situation of male headship.

  46. Natalie Miller May 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    However you interpret the scripture this is a terrible argument! What he says about women’s magazines is generally true. So if I go to my local store and look at all the magazines for men they’re going to be full of virtuous, wholesome content that builds up the soul in such a way that a man can’t put it down without having grown closer to God? Of course not, the whole theme of a large percentage of these magazines is ‘look at all the naked/nearly naked women you like.’ The rest is all about how to get a faster car/more money/better body. And if it looks like I’m generalising my assumptions are no worse than his.

    This annoying me as I am researching different views on this subject and was looking for reasonable arguments.
    And feel slightly patronised!

  47. Bettie Schmitt May 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    What about a woman like me? I have a strong personality and simply don’t have “follower” or “submissive” characteristics. I spent many years in a relationship with a man who wanted to dominate me. I tried to play “the little woman”, but it only made me anxious, irritated and emotionally repressed. For the past several years, I’ve been with a man who is gentle, nurturing, patient…and NOT a leader. I make the big decisions and manage a lot of things in our daily life. This works well for us. I’m not saying this would work for everyone. But I am asking the question: “What would Mark Driscoll (and others who agree with him) say about women like me – or couples like myself and my wonderful husband?”

  48. Blair May 23, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    i hope he would ‘Good on you Bettie” as i do!

  49. Blair May 23, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    i hope he would say ‘Good on you Bettie” as i do!

  50. yankeegospelgirl May 23, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I have a strong personality too, but I take that as a sign that I need a man who is stronger than I am. Not a Neanderthal, just a strong, loving leader.

  51. Blair October 19, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Driscol’s anti -women drivel continues to divide. This comment says it all
    “The woman came from a man’s rib. Not from his feet to be walked on.Not from his head to be superior, but from the side to be equal. under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved”
    How an interpretation of 1 Timothy 2 can be taken out of context and out of the cultural relevance of the time to arrive at such a anti -women stance puts all of Mark’s interpretative and doctrinal stances under question.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Mark Driscoll on Women in Ministry (ht: Denny Burk) […]

  2. » Another Complementarian Caricature | Denny Burk - August 3, 2010

    […] the text that she stumbles over, so her analysis of the issue is fairly skewed. Although there are some exceptions, complementarians by and large do not believe that women are more gullible or prone to sin than men […]

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