10 March 2009

Preachin' Dirty

by Phil Johnson

ulpit Live is currently posting transcripts from Friday morning's plenary session at last week's Shepherds' Conference. The comment-threads there would be a perfect place for me to answer some of the questions I have received since the Shepherds' Conference, but for reasons unknown, the Pulpit website won't accept my comments. (I'm dead to them.)



On top of the many comments posted in various on-line forums, I've received about two dozen e-mails from people who have written me directly to ask questions or lodge complaints about Friday's message. All who have written me directly have been very gracious, and I believe all of them have been sincere. Most have asked the same two or three questions, so today I want to answer those questions (plus a few of the not-so-sincere objections that have showed up here, there, and on Facebook). These are roughly in order from the most common questions to the most bizarre:

Have you or Dr. MacArthur ever personally shared your concerns personally with Mark Driscoll?

Yes. I sent Mark a 6-page letter the first week of December, telling him what I was planning to deal with at the Shepherds' Conference. I explained why I thought his message at the Desiring God Conference in September left some of the most important objections to his own use of crass language unanswered. I also enumerated six specific questions that I thought would help my understanding of his position.

Mark didn't reply or acknowledge my letter until one week prior to the Shepherds' Conference. Then he phoned and said he would answer me by video since the timing was late. When the video arrived, Driscoll had addressed his reply not to me but to the attendees of the Shepherds' Conference—as if I had invited him to share my time slot at the conference.

His reply also ignored the six questions enumerated in my letter. Instead, he answered a question of his own choosing, saying he believed that one answer would suffice as an answer to all my questions.

John MacArthur likewise attempted to correspond with Driscoll a year and a half ago. He too received no answer for almost six months, and when the answer finally came, it was routed indirectly, through an e-mail sent by Driscoll's secretary to John MacArthur's secretary. Curiously enough, Driscoll's reply to John came on the first day of last year's Shepherds' Conference.

Driscoll clearly does not take his critics very seriously. Communication with him hasn't done anything so far to convince me that he understands (or wants to understand) the concerns some of us have tried to express to him.

Didn't you know that Driscoll has already repented of using bad language?

So I hear. I mentioned that fact in my letter to Driscoll and cited three well-known instances of ribald jokes and profane remarks that occurred long after he said he was sorry for past sins of the tongue. The first of my six questions to him was, "How do the above remarks differ from things you previously said you had repented of?" He did not answer that question.

I had someone else listen to your message. He went semi-ballistic, claiming that you'd misquoted Driscoll, and used 5- and sometimes 10-year-old arguments against him, etc.

I mentioned Driscoll by name only in two places in my message—once at the start and once at the end. The first time I mentioned him, I quoted from the opening sentence of an article in the New York Times Magazine about Driscoll. I attributed no words to Driscoll himself. The second time I singled out Driscoll by name, I referred to a joke he has told repeatedly. I made no attempt to "quote" the joke, because doing so would have violated the principle I was attempting to affirm. So I described the joke in oblique terms. Again, I attributed no words to him.

Both of those references dealt with material that has been published since January 1 of this year. So I would be curious to know where the critic thinks I "misquoted" or made use of "5- and sometimes 10-year-old arguments against him, etc."

Can you cite a single sermon where Driscoll used "cuss" words?

Why?

Not only did I not accuse him of using "cuss" words; I did not even mention Donald Miller's infamous nickname for Driscoll.

My complaint about Driscoll's language in the pulpit is much more serious than the question of whether he cusses or not. And I think I made that fairly clear.

Did you see Driscoll's Twitter comment right after your message?

There's no reason to assume that had anything to do with me, or that it meant anything sinister. He said he was meditating on Proverbs 26:4: "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself." It's a good verse. I meditate on that verse virtually every day, whenever hostile or hateful comments show up on my blog.

But you know what? Even if I thought Mark was aiming that Tweet at me, I wouldn't make an issue of it. I'm not particularly interested in what his visceral reaction was on Friday afternoon. I'm curious what his response will be when he has had time to think through the biblical substance of my message.

You lumped Mark Driscoll together with Ed Young. That's not fair.

Precisely how did I "lump" them? By naming them both? Both of them have shown a predilection for dealing with sexual topics in lurid terms. But not only did I not draw that connection or imply that the two of them are in any way in league with one another, I don't believe I even made any specific mention of Driscoll's series on sex from Song of Solomon—even though I think some aspects of that series and the accompanying Q&A were even more offensive than Ed Young, Jr.'s smirking interviews on the cable news programs that featured his sex challenge.

I have noticed, however, that all the questions I'm getting are about Mark Driscoll. Where are the defenders of Ed Young, Jr., ChristianNymphos, and xxxchurch's inflatable mascot?

Here's the point: My message was not actually about Driscoll per se. If the problem were just one guy who likes to talk dirty, I wouldn't have even dealt with the topic.

What my message actually decried was the atmosphere in evangelical and post-evangelical circles that deliberately glorifies everything lewd and lowbrow at the expense of any serious call for holiness.

I think I made that pretty clear, too.

Phil's signature

337 comments:

1 – 200 of 337   Newer›   Newest»
Pastor James said...

Thank You, Sir. I know it's hard addressing these issues, and I'm thankful that you took the time to do it. As always, your post is quite insightful. Your answers have helped me a lot to understand the situation. I was quite encouraging that you took the time to blog your responses though you must be busy already. Thank you for your service unto the Lord. Stay strong and God bless!

Tournifreak said...

From a long-term lurker...

First, let me say that I have the utmost respect for Phil, and I thought his message was powerful and thought-provoking. Some of the examples he (obliquely) cited were pretty outrageous. If I had used the some of the smutty humour Driscoll *occasionally* uses, I would feel the need to repent of it. It is occasional though - perhaps 1 comment in the whole 12 hours of the SoS series. And I don't think quoting the NYT is particularly helpful. I mean, they're after a big news story, right? And they caricature and distort and use quotes out of context to sell their story.

I do have a few questions that haven't been addressed yet though. And I think they're really important ones. I was to distil Phil's argument down to a single line, I suppose it would be something like, "Keep lewd talk out of the pulpit". OK, fine. I have no problem with that.

But how then should we address the genuine and serious questions that so many people have in our churches? Obviously we live in a sex-saturated culture. And that fact leaves people with serious questions about how their sexuality relates to spirituality. How do we address those sensitive questions? What is a Biblical view of masturbation? What is the Biblical approach to one partner in a marriage desiring intimate relations more than the other? What are the Biblical guidelines for what intimate acts are appropriate and inappropriate between husband and wife?

These questions and many more were all answered recently in Driscoll's series on Song of Solomon. Personally, I have never heard anyone else address those issues of marriage and intimacy and love in a clearer and more Biblical way than Driscoll did. And I don't know quite how you can teach what the Bible does on those subjects without being open about it. If the pulpit is not the right place for frank speech about those subjects than where is a more appropriate place?

I take Phil's point about the SoS being quite subtle in the descriptions it uses. But surely we do not do justice to the text by leaving the meaning of the author obscure in the minds of our congregations? Maybe the poetry was more easily understood in the original culture? Surely the Lord wouldn't have us unclear about the truths in his Word?

Driscoll's set of talks makes the point that Christians have more and better sex than non-Christians. Simply because God's principles for holy sexual relations are infinitely better than that of the trashy pornified culture we live in. But if all we're going to say from the pulpit is, "we don't discuss those things here", then how can we expect people saved out of our culture to know how to behave?

Please, these are genuine questions - what is the better way?

Jon.

Marie said...

You did make it clear - those are nothing more than red herrings being thrown.

My husband and I listened to the podcast the other night, and thought it was a message that desperately needed to be preached. It must have been a challenge to avoid profaning the atmosphere of holiness by citing specific examples (other than that one joke about whatever your hand finds to do). Excerpts from stuff Driscoll has written and said are so raunchy it's hard to explain what the problem is without repeating defiling yourself and the listener. You managed to do it well and get your point across.

Ken said...

I appreciate Mark Driscoll, but what Phil said needed to be said and was biblically sound. It should make thoughtful, godly men and women examine themselves. I appreciate Mark's willingness to listen to criticism and make on-going corrections. I hope he will listen humbly to men like Phil Johnson and John MacArthur. I think he will only increase his usefulness. I want to be able to recommend him to my young sons, but one of the things I battle continually is language inappropriate for Christians and Christian ministry.

Aaron said...

Iwould first like to say thanky Mr. Johnson for ytoursermon. I noticedyou delt with new testment instances of "dirty" talk. But what about old Testment instances?Like Ezekiel Chapter 16 where words like harolt and whordom are used?

Ian Hall said...

Good answers.

Daryl said...

You're a faithful preacher of the word Phil. Bless you and thank you.

Hayden said...

Phil,

I used to be one of the young pastors that defended Mark D. at every turn.

NO MORE! You comments at Shepherd's got straight to the issue and the comments about Driscoll were not unfair. I have heard everything that you commented on come from Driscoll and am sad that others are too in to making excuses for Driscoll.

The Scriptures say what they say, and or job is to submit to them not dance around the edges of them.

I am curious to see if anyone will deal with the substance of your argument. Will anyone stand up and say, 'Phil your exegesis is wrong, in this place?' I doubt it. It will just become a defend Driscoll at any cost time.

Do not lose heart. You convinced me.

Tournifreak said...

Hayden,

I don't think Phil's exegesis is wrong. But (as I said above), I want to know what alternative he would suggest. Seems to me no-one has addressed that yet.

Jon.

Puritan said...

Well Done Phil Johnson! Amen and Amen. I thought the message was excellent and needed to be said.

The fact that the notion of lewdness being acceptable in Christianity, never mind in the pulpit, is even up for debate, shows the true state of the reformed church, i.e. full of unregenerate people debating doctrine but not living it. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.

If only more would speak out.

Faithful Witness said...

I agree with the comment that Ken made. I appreciate your message Dr. Phil, and my prayer is that both the Pastors and layity(?) can be of one mind on this subject.

Lets keep trash talk away from the sacred. . .

Scott Shaffer said...

Tournifreak,

The alternative to MD's inappropriate jesting on CNN is to just stop doing it.

Dave said...

Hey Phil,
I am going to try my best to not defend Driscoll or attack him unjustly. Phil, I have read the 2 parts of your talk put up so far and I do think the majority of it is pretty direct at Driscoll. The big thing I think with Driscoll is the attitude he has brought to the Reformed camp. He appeals to the young, reformed guys. It seems like he has joined two parts of styles that normally never seem to happen. The cutting edge technology, newer "styles", and modern feel, while promoting the Reformed doctrines. My questions for Phil would be: I am sure you did a large amount of research on Driscoll and his church before this message. If he changed his language, and adapted some more distance on certain areas would you recommend him? Would you put him in the same boat as Luther? His church will never be a Grace Community, the style and difference is big. Don't you see some huge plusses in his strong passion and his push for evangelism? In your talk you also take shots at his ultimate fighter interests, is that a Biblical criticism or just a legalistic one? Aren't we walking a small line if we don't have clear teaching on a certain area like whether liking ultimate fighting is acceptable for a pastor?
All of this to say, I agree with the fact that while I think Driscoll is better than he was, he still needs to work on his language and acceptable speech/discussions. However, when you start at the speech issue and then jump into the legalistic pond fishing for other issues you may not like/agree with then you lose the voice of Biblical correction and end up sounding like a personal attack. It'd been better to site more specific areas of speech to work on and correct, than slide into a legalistic arguments. If you don't like the fact Mars Hill uses movies, likes ultimate fighting, or such, then correct it Biblically, not with random jabs at what you see is using too much culture. That isn't fair to add that in your talk. You lumped that in so that people hearing/reading feel like if they agree with your assessment of his speech than they have to agree that Mars Hill is wrong on most accounts. That would be the same as you attacking non-cessationists and then lumping in Sovereign Grace as a bad church. Which in your mind is more clear Biblically, the cessation or what constitutes approved speech? Those are my thoughts. Interested to hear some responses.

art said...

I'm sure Driscoll didn't respond to your critiques or MacArthur's critiques not because he doesn't take his critics seriously, but because he doesn't take fundy-mundies seriously.

He does, however, have close relationships with men like Tim Keller, John Piper, and CJ Mahaney, among others. He takes their critiques seriously because those men care for Mark and his ministry.

You just seem to want to prove a point.

Everyday Mommy said...

Tournifreak:

I'm curious as to why you think these topics should be addressed from the pulpit.

jules

DJP said...

Wow.

You can read Mark Driscoll's mind and Phil Johnson's mind!

How many fingers am I holding up? On which hands?

Everyday Mommy said...

What's a fundy mundy?

Citizen Grim said...

I'm getting tired of the sex nonsense from the pulpit, too. And how they always try to introduce it as "This series, we're gonna talk about something you've never heard in church before." They say that every time.

My church did a 5-week series on the Song of Solomon (all 8 chapters). As you might imagine, it was pretty sparse on teaching, but dense on jokes, innuendo, and "knowing looks."

Tournifreak said...

Everyday Mommy,

What do you suggest as an alternative?

divinesatisfaction.com said...

Phil, thanks for pointing out that you mentioned MD only twice (with some allusions to Seattle thrown in).

Is it just me, or was the point of the message not about defending or condemning an individual, but a call to holiness and dignity in our preaching? It seems that for every MD defender there's someone willing to "kick him" while he's perceived to be down.

IMO the ardent MD defenders need to remember that MD falls on the grace of God...a good thing since he doesn't get it from many brothers. The MD "attackers" (referring to the drive-by bloggists who seem intent on blowing certain aspects of the message out of proportion) need to remember that MD will answer to God for the flock that God entrusted him with, as with each pastor.

Everyday Mommy said...

Tournifreak:

I think the alternative is obvious. Address issues of a sexual nature in private.

jules

G N Barkman said...

I was present at Shepherds to hear Phil's message, and I thougt it was excellent, Biblibcal, and greatly needed. When will we ever learn that evangelism does not trump everything else in Scripture. Surely the Bible teaches us that we can, and must, engage our culture without mimicking it. (Eph. 5:12)

dodge said...

Phil:

Thank you for this post and the presentation. I have been grieved that evangelical conservatives have been strangely silent in the face of some of this public behavior that ought to make a thoughtful Christian blush. I just wonder what Edwards or Spurgeon would think of our Christian culture that tacitly approves of this nonsense.

FWIW, I attempt to vet some things for accuracy and charity through Mars Hill before I did a presentation to our students on the emerging church conversation. of which Driscoll is an admitted part, only to have not even recieved the courtesy of a return phone call from an administrative assistant despite several phone messages.

I am glad JM and co. are willing to speak out.

Jeff Straub

Tournifreak said...

Everyday Mommy,

I don't have the time to privately counsel dozens and dozens of young adults on all these issues. It took Driscoll 12 hours to "do" SoS. How can I address those issues that a huge proportion of my congregation struggle with? Isn't that one of the reasons why we address issues in the pulpit rather than 1-2-1?

trogdor said...

"But how then should we address the genuine and serious questions that so many people have in our churches? Obviously we live in a sex-saturated culture. And that fact leaves people with serious questions about how their sexuality relates to spirituality. How do we address those sensitive questions?"

I have a radical suggestion. How about, when these issues are addressed, we do it nobly and honorably, without descending into gutter talk and obscene joking. Crazy, I know. But I just have to think that somewhere, somehow, someone has been able to discuss sexual matters without turning the pulpit into a South Park episode. Nah, I must be dreaming - such topics simply cannot be addressed without sinking to utterly degrading levels. Impossible.

Tim Bertolet said...

I just preached on Ephesians 5:1-5 this week at my church and it is interesting the connection in verses 3 and 4. Sexual immorality, impurity and greed shouldn't even be named among us and we should put off foolish talk, moronic jokes and coarse jesting.

I would say that there does need to be a healthy defense of Biblical sexuality. And I would say that in counseling there may be times where one has to get more specific in certain areas. Some of these things should be in private and protect the sacredness of sexuality not trumpeted from the pulpit or published on blogs.

I agree there is this wide problem of how we address sexuality from the pulpit in a way that excites and eroticses it, too often under the guise of 'redeeming the culture'. We should always watch the way we talk about it--especially when it comes to jokes--no matter who we are so that we do not distract from the cross even as we give an biblical defense of proper sexuality.

Everyday Mommy said...

Tournifreak:

1. If you are a pastor, you'd better make the time to counsel dozens and dozens. It's your job.

2. If a "huge proportion of [your] congregation struggle with" these issues, tell them to stop watching so much television and get into the Word of God.

3. I'm going to be blunt here and speak to you plainly. How dare you "preach" in this fashion from your pulpit and try to excuse it as a service to a bunch of sex-starved youth who have no self-control! My son is seven years old and if my pastor ever "preached" this way from the pulpit he'd be out on his ear!

"Momma, why aren't we going to church today?"

"We can't take you to church today, Honey. Pastor's preachin' dirty."

donsands said...

Thanks Phil for your steadfastness in the Word.

The Word of the Lord is sharper than a razor, and it cuts the soul.
We need to receive the Spirit's conviction, and ask Him to help us speak words that are encouraging, wholesome, and when in the pulpit a pastor's words have to be full of grace, and words that can be heard and received by children, young adults, adults, the elderly, mature siants, and immature new converts, as well as unbelievers.

Driscoll seems to speak to 20-30 year olds, and acts like he's in a supposrt group of men, where the language may be a bit harsher.

Tournifreak said...

Trogdor:

"I just have to think that somewhere, somehow, someone has been able to discuss sexual matters without turning the pulpit into a South Park episode. Nah, I must be dreaming - such topics simply cannot be addressed without sinking to utterly degrading levels."

I was referring to Driscoll. In your characterisation you seem to be referring to someone else entirely. Who is it please?

Tournifreak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tournifreak said...

Everyday Mommy:

1. Like I said, part of the point of preaching is to address a large number of people with he same information. No pastor has time to speak 1-2-1 with a huge part of the congregation on the same subject. That's just crazy.

2. Sanctification is not achieved through people being told to read their Bibles more and watch TV less. We have a lot of people who are saved out of a porn-saturated culture (men & women). Part of what they need is a good firm Biblical grasp of how sexuality is supposed to work.

3. I would entirely agree. I would certainly not preach on any such matter in front of my 6-year old either. And neither would Driscoll.

Have you heard any of Driscoll's sermons (all the way through, not just 30seconds from YouTube)?

Dave said...

Others have aluded to it, but it is confusing that Phil and Johnny Mac have come down so strongly on Driscoll, while Piper, Mahaney, Keller and even CCEF have invited him to their conferences to speak as recently as last fall. Why are so many other brothers not speaking out about it if it is so Biblically clear. Those guys have stepped on many toes of other Evangelical "leaders" when they have erred. I haven't even heard Duncan, Mohler, Dever speak out.

Also confusing that Phil mentions Paul using strong words, but not crude words, or shocking and harsh words but not smutty. And Phil says that while Paul used them it was the exception not the rule. I think this is where it becomes really tough. Questions naturally arise:
Who determines the difference between strong and crude?
How about between shocking and harsh or smutty?
If Paul used them at all, isn't that important to the discussion?
Why would Scripture say Paul used harsh, shocking, strong, sarcastic words in any instance if we weren't to follow suit or learn from them?
Paul was never condemned or asked forgiveness for these instances, so we would could only believe it was allowed in certain instances correct?
Now, who decides when it is allowed?

Joshua Cookingham said...

"What's a fundy mundy?"

It's a brand of candy. "Fundy Mundy! The ultimate Jawbreaker!"

Anyway, Mark does need to tone it WAY down. I value many of the things he's said(he hasn't bought into the Shack crap, he actually did a huge rant on it)but he still needs to make his language more acceptable.

Thanks Phil for treating him a lot more gracefully than a few other blogs I won't mention.....

Joshua Cookingham said...

"Who determines the difference between strong and crude?
How about between shocking and harsh or smuttty?.....
Now, who decides when it is allowed?"

Um, God?
I'd say there is a time and place for it, not every single day.

Solameanie said...

Phil,

I have a hunch you're encountering some of the same old pomo games here to some respect. I've seen you take pains -- and then some -- to be as clear as crystal, with illustrations, and above all, biblical support. Yet those who are sniping at you over this either avoid the biblical arguments altogether in favor of emotional pitches or insist that things really aren't clear after all.

All you can do is keep calling them out and rubbing their noses in it. I can't help of thinking of Romans 3:19 and the line about mouths being stopped.

Chad V. said...

Tourinfreak said;

Sanctification is not achieved through people being told to read their Bibles more and watch TV less.

Through simply being told to read their bibles more? No. But if they actually did read their bibles more then YES!

Christ in his High Priestly prayer in John 17 prays to the Father on behalf of Christians, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17)

Sanctification can not be achieved apart from a deep imbibing of the word of God.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Why not announce a special class for these issues, with full disclosure, and let those who want to attend, attend? Is that so radical an idea?

Preach with honor. Ask yourself if an Apostle would dish lewdness during an assembly.

Does Eph. 5:4 have any meaning left anymore? Or does contextualization trump revelation?

Eric said...

Tournifreak,

Did you hear Phil advocate for never preaching on SoS? Did Phil criticize Mark Driscoll's preaching on SoS? Did Phil say it is inappropriate to address any sexual topic from the pulpit?

The general topic of sexual purity and monogamy is fine to address from the pulpit within the confines of what God's Word says and within the confines of decency. What Phil addressed relating to sex sermons was the obvious titillation that goes on with a number of churches and how accepted it has become.

Is it really that hard to address topics relating to teen sexual urges within an appropriate context such as individual counseling or in a more general way during youth Bible studies without exposing the entire congregation to sensitive and personal material? Remember, a good number of churches don't segregate their families during corporate worship, and as such have children of all ages present during corporate worship.

If Mark's pattern had been to avoid opportunities for irreverance, smut, and filth rather than embrace them, he would not have opened himself up to this type of criticism.

Everyday Mommy said...

Tournifeak:

1. "Part of the point of preaching is to address a large number of people with the same information."

Really? Expediency is the point of preaching?

2. "Sanctification is not achieved through people being told to read their Bibles more and watch TV less. We have a lot of people who are saved out of a porn-saturated culture (men & women). Part of what they need is a good firm Biblical grasp of how sexuality is supposed to work."

Is it just me, or was this response one giant contradiction?

3. I would entirely agree. I would certainly not preach on any such matter in front of my 6-year old either. And neither would Driscoll.

So, what would you do with the children?

Have you heard any of Driscoll's sermons (all the way through, not just 30seconds from YouTube)?

I've heard plenty of Driscoll.

Bobby Mosteller said...

Thank you Mr. Johnson,

I pray the Lord will use this to bring many to repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ. Keep up the good work.

Bobby Mosteller

Dave said...

Hey Josh,
I agree for sure. But how are we to decide on that day-to-day basis?
What if Driscoll says his language is shocking and harsh, but you say it is smutty?
Don't misinterpret, I am not trying to argue, just trying to clarify. I am trying to see the difference between Biblical correction and legalism in this sense I guess.
I do this honestly for selfish reasons. I have both gained from Driscoll and been put-off by him at times. How do I discern when it is because his speech is wrong or when it just makes my fundamental/conservative background, possibly legalistic, uncomfortable? I am honestly struggling with this issue.
Not normally an issue since most of the "emerging" types have ever championed Reformed doctrines like Driscoll.
Even Westminster sells his stuff...

Tournifreak said...

Johnny Dialectic:

I think teaching in a smaller group is a good idea. But it seems to me that Phil's point was that we should keep lewd talk out of the pulpit. So you're stuck with the same problem. How do you teach a Biblical approach to masturbation without mentioning masturbation?

Hayden said...

Tourinfreak,

Preach the Word and not use smutty language. Sounds pretty direct to me. No nuance needed

trogdor said...

I suppose it's possible that Driscoll both

1) Preaches in a noble and pure manner, handling even the most sensitive topics with grace and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety

and

2) Chooses to promote this pure ministry through obscene joking and vile talk.

Yeah, I guess it's possible. For some reason, I'm a bit skeptical.

And no, I have not listened to every Driscoll sermon or read everything he's written, nor do I have any intention of doing so. I've seen the way he self-promotes as an irreverent, obscene, cutting-edge preacher, and I've simply taken him at his word. If the bread advertises itself as moldy and the meat promotes its rancidness, I don't buy them and expect to make a good burger.

Like I said, it surely is possible to preach on sensitive topics without resorting to gutter talk. You claim Driscoll has done so; I certainly hope you are right, yet somehow I remain a tad skeptical. I have no doubt that he's capable of doing so - he's obviously a bright man and very skilled preacher - yet he has given reason after reason to doubt that he would. Of course, if he has handled such matters honorably, that just makes his obscene media tour all the more mind-boggling.

And with that, I'm done talking about Driscoll. Have a good one.

Rabbit said...

2. Sanctification is not achieved through people being told to read their Bibles more and watch TV less. We have a lot of people who are saved out of a porn-saturated culture (men & women). Part of what they need is a good firm Biblical grasp of how sexuality is supposed to work.

Sir, the Word is what sanctifies by the power of the Holy Spirit. I submit to you that every one of us lives in a porn-saturated culture; I have to shield my young son's eyes going through the checkout line at Walmart. How will your congregation get this "firm Biblical grasp" - by you preaching lurid sermons on the topic for weeks on end, OR by you exhorting them to put aside that which is empty and instead read Scripture, equipping them to read it with understanding, and encouraging them with Scriptural standards for speech and behavior?

Frank Turk said...

44 comments already? That's crazy.

Tournifreak said...

"Did you hear Phil advocate for never preaching on SoS? Did Phil criticize Mark Driscoll's preaching on SoS? Did Phil say it is inappropriate to address any sexual topic from the pulpit?"

Nope. Nope. And nope. But I want to know what his alternative look like.


"Remember, a good number of churches don't segregate their families during corporate worship, and as such have children of all ages present during corporate worship."

Sure, I agree a mixed service is *not* the place for teaching on these subjects. I wouldn't do it. And Driscoll doesn't either. Which is why I think think a lot of the stick he's getting is very unfair.


"If Mark's pattern had been to avoid opportunities for irreverance, smut, and filth rather than embrace them, he would not have opened himself up to this type of criticism."

I think Driscol does go too far occasionally, but he's treading a fine line. He has the courage to tackle subjects that most pastors wouldn't touch with a barge-pole, while 50% of the men in their congregation watch porn regularly. I suspect that if more pastors had the courage to deal openly with some of these massive problems, more would get criticism because they've inadvertently overstepped the mark.

DJP said...

And you're shocked, shocked, Frank?

(c;

Everyday Mommy said...

Amen to Rabbit!

pastorharold said...

My daughter got her braces tightened this morning. I could tell by looking at her it hurt. Did we leave there mad at the orthodontist, and talk about how sorry he was for causing this pain? No! He did what was necessary to make her teeth better in the long run.
Amen Phil! Thanks for having the best intrest of the church in your heart. This was necessary and will make us better in the long run.

Chris said...

The issue here, as more details come out about Phil's and John's attempts to contact and correct a wayward brother in a biblical manner unsuccessfully, is clearly a spirit of rebellion, as expressed through a defensive sense of entitlement and self-ascribed autonomy. While I do not have the specific timeline regarding Driscoll's association with key-player emergents at one point in his ministry and his subsequent departure from them at another, but one thing is abundantly clear here: the same spirit of pseudo-autonomy and rebellion that is trademark amongst postmoderns and/or emergents is the same spirit on display in Driscoll's responses to Phil and John. Is this not the same spirit of pseudo-autonomy and rebellion we saw in the garden of Eden? Just curious.

Tournifreak said...

Everyday Mommy / Rabbit,

"...the Word is what sanctifies by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Yes, OK I admit I expressed that sentiment astonishingly badly.

Let me try again: Everyday Mommy suggested people with sexual baggage ought to be told to read their Bibles more. Obviously I agree that would help, because the Holy Spirit sanctifies us through the word. But, we have preachers and teachers in order to explain the Word, do we not? Specific teaching on the word fixes specific problems. The specific problem that a lot of people now have is an incredibly worldly view of human sexuality. Specific teaching on that subject will help fix their specific problem. Specific teaching may occasionally have to be direct and graphic, in the appropriate context (i.e. no kids, and with fore-warning!)

Tournifreak said...

Chris,

If I write you a 6-page letter and demand a full response, and you don't, then I can announce to the world that you have a spirit of pseudo-autonomy and rebellion, right?

Chris said...

Tournifreak:

It's not primarily just the "mixed audience" present to hear and see such defilement of biblical preaching through rhetoric from the gutter (it is certainly an issue), but it is far more devastating that the utter disgrace of GOD'S HOLINESS, through such irreverence and contempt for the high calling of one who would teach God's Word, was on display for the single most important audience member in the universe: the Lord Jesus Christ!

DJP said...

TournifreakIf I write you a 6-page letter and demand a full response, and you don't, then I can announce to the world that you have a spirit of pseudo-autonomy and rebellion, right?

You seem to dance back and forth across the line of credibility. With this question, you're more back than forth.

I'd invite you, yourself, to explain the difference between your scenario, and what actually happened.

Frank Turk said...

Can I say something here? Phil and I have had extended exchanges on the subject at hand becuase let's face it: I have an uneven track record for the use of my enflamed tongue. I don't think I have ever used a 4-letter word in my blogging, but I have used words of other lengths and various saxon ancestry, and it is to my shame -- all the moreso because it was intentional and not merely youthful hubris.

And that's in my blog. Heaven forbid that I would ever use such language from the pulpit in the case that I had the opportunity to preach from there.

Now that said, nobody gets offended when one preaches about greed, or envy, or malice, or lying. Right? Who gets offended when one preaches on that?

But it turns out that Jesus is Lord over sex, too. Factually, that is one premise of some of the shenanigans that have come forth from Mars Hill and other places -- and it's a sound premise. The problem I think is that they have not applied the premise to all corners of the problem.

Let's imagine that we live in a culture where sex is a commodity -- or worse, a recreational activity. It's not hard to imagine, really. In that culture, we are going to have to talk openly about sex.

But here's that thing: if Jesus is Lord over sex, we can't speak about sex as if Jesus was not Lord over sex. In the same way that the sin of lying looks more ugly when we consider Christ, making a joke that "the only 'F-word' I didn't know" is "fornication" doesn't quite drive home the point that because Jesus is Lord over sex our disobedience to him is not funny but in fact tragic.

So should there be public preaching about sex? Of course there should be. Should it be lurid, prurient, and far and away too much information? Of course not -- because it is degrading to ourselves and degrading to our Savior.

Chris said...

Tournifreak:

With all due respect, are you really being serious in your hypothetical? The logic in it, as some sort of comparison between a correspondance between me (nobody) and you (also nobody, I'm assuming) and that of a correspondance between high profile Christian leaders of large churches, falls apart so easily that I'm afraid I cannot even pick it up.

Chris said...

Tournifreak:

With all due respect, are you really being serious in your hypothetical? The logic in it, as some sort of comparison between a correspondance between me (nobody) and you (also nobody, I'm assuming) and that of a correspondance between high profile Christian leaders of large churches, falls apart so easily that I'm afraid I cannot even pick it up.

Chris said...

sorry for the accidental double post; circuits are busy this morning, I guess.

Scott Weldon said...

I'm just a small church pastor with no business getting in on this. But what happened to the idea of simply preaching the text, proclaiming the gospel, etc? Why do we need this kind of garbage from the pulipt simply because it tickles itching ears.

Proclaim the gospel in public; deal with individual concerns about private matters in private (house to house as the apostles did it). Yes we live in a sexually saturated culture. But so did the early church in Corinth, etc. We're foolish to act like this is a new thing. Yet, I don't think I've heard that Paul ever did a series on how to gratify your wife, etc.

And as for 30 seconds of Driscoll or anyone else... Hearing that 30 seconds on Youtube is certainly sufficient to let me know that I don't want to hear the rest of what he says. There is no need for the vulgar and profane in the pulpit simply to make a point. Those 30 seconds will undo the other 45 minutes no matter how good they might be.

Thanks to Phil and others who are trying to move the discussion back to a biblical basis.

I'll go back to my hole now.

Tournifreak said...

DJP:

I was addressing Chris' overtly judgemental and inflammatory language. Especially since, by his own admission, he was not aware of all the facts.

I really have no great issue with what Phil said in general. We need to be reverent and holy in our teaching. But with a few notable exceptions, I think Driscoll is. Like I said before, I think he treads a fine line. I would rather people gently but firmly correct him when he oversteps the mark, than rubbish him and his entire ministry. He's doing a tough job and steering a difficult course, and I think he could do without his reformed brothers and sisters caricaturing him like so many are right now. (and that comment was not directed at Phil BTW)

Johnny Dialectic said...

Tournifreak, I didn't say you had to limit your talk on these things. I said do so with "full disclosure" so people can decide to attend.

In the worship assembly, when all sorts of people are there, even those who are there for the first time, it's not the place, IMO.

Everyday Mommy said...
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Everyday Mommy said...

Amen, Scott!

God bless the small church pastors who are faithful to preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Eric said...

Tournifreak,

After all that has been talked about and examples given, do you really think this topic/citicism is about a few pastors/churches who "inadvertently overstepped the mark"? The language you use in that phrase deliberately minimizes what actually is a discernable pattern that is the result of conscious decisions. I believe that if you were to be honest, you would recognize that your characterization of what Mark has quite regularly done as a simple inadvertant overstepping of the mark is inaccurate.

Chris said...

BTW: it is not simply a failure to respond, but rather the manner in which Phil described it happening (are we agreed that Phil is telling the truth, or should I expect this premise to be challenged?) The questions presented were never addressed, but rather a reply with a question/response of his own was submitted instead, directed to the Shepherd's audience, that bypasses the originator of the questions altogether in some sort of underhanded protest of the fact that questions were asked of him at all? How about what Phil said regarding the secretary-to-secretary route in reply to John's attempt to contact him? Just an accident...a coincidence? I'm not buying it. Quite frankly, this is textbook postmodern behavior: evasive, irreverent, pseudo-autonymous, self-entitled, and rebellious--like the spirit of all things emergent.

Everyday Mommy said...

Tournifreak:

It seems to me that your view of the Word of God can be summed up in a single word..."but".

You say, "Obviously I agree that would help, because the Holy Spirit sanctifies us through the word. But..."

You believe that "we have preachers and teachers in order to explain the Word".

I believe that, "...the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:12-13)

I submit that if your sex-starved congregation was fully grounded and immersed in the Word of God that the problem of sexuality would resolve itself.

Here endeth the lesson, Pastor.

So spricht der HERR said...

This comment thread has just become silly... : )

Tournifreak:
I stand behind Phil's post and whether the two necessarily conflict or not, I think your questions are certainly VALID. I do think everydaymommy and others have answered your questions but maybe not in a way that entirely address your situation.

How does one preach on sex in a dignified manner in a culture that has made anything sexual sound perverse or dirty?

I don't gather from your posts any sort of hostility toward Phil and certainly not toward the Scriptural mandate to preach sound doctrine with soundness of speech. Honestly, my opinion is that of everydaymommy's in saying: Watch less T.V. and read your Bible. On top of that expound the Word of God to them and it will not return void. Let the work of the Holy-Spirit do it's work and then if people still have questions (and they will, of course) let them seek your counsel in a more personal atmosphere where questions can be asked and terms can be defined and explained so as to bring richer understanding (because from the pulpit, what you preach may not always be what they hear)... I think this a better and more God-honoring alternative than going too far in the other direction and being too explicit.

God Bless

Rabbit said...

Tournifreak, your response sounds to me like you're not trusting God to do what He says He'll do - that your congregation 'needs' you to defy Scripture and get into the dirty talk because they just won't get it otherwise. But as Dan stated, those whose besetting sin is sexual in nature can look at linoleum and be reminded of sex. You do not have to lead them there from the pulpit; they’ll get there easily.

Teach what Scripture says: have fabulous sex if you’re married [I suppose I have to insert ‘to a member of the opposite sex’] and don’t if you’re not. Amen.

I submit that if you, by example, lead people into the Word, avoiding trash talk and lewd examples and instead preaching and teaching on what's really there; if you teach them verse by verse how to read Scripture with understanding; if you assert as Frank reminded us that Christ is Lord of all, even sexuality; if you teach on holiness and purity and submission and self-control; then the Holy Spirit will indeed do what it appears you think you need to do from the pulpit: bring to mind their sin, give them a sense of revulsion over it, draw believers to repentance, give them a love for Scripture and a desire to please the Lord, and equip them to stand firm.

If this is not their response to Scripture, it is possible they are not truly saved, and then your preaching better be the Gospel of Christ.

Deb_B said...

Art: "You just seem to want to prove a point."

And you don't, right Art?

Everyday Mommy said...
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Chris said...

EverydayMommy:

Thank You! Well said!
The word "but" is such a simple transitional word, yet among contemporary evangelicalism it has become a gate of entry into the most decaying of gardens.

Tournifreak said...

Everyday Mommy,

Perhaps you should ask your pastor not to bother preaching in future, but simply to read the word instead. I suspect he would agree the Word simply read will be a good thing, and beneficial to the congregation. But I suspect he will also insist on preaching because that is the vehicle God has chosen to use.

Lark said...

Reformed Mommy-
And I'm sure that no one in your church is struggling with sexual sin. The attitude of the women on this board is quite revealing. Is it naivete or what? Do you honestly believe that the only people struggling with this sin are teens and young men in Seattle? And how liberating it must feel to give a lesson to a pastor.

Deb_B said...

Thank you, Phil. I listened to your general assembly message yesterday afternoon in its entirety. My husband and I listened to it last evening together as well.

Thank you, just thank you.

Lark said...

sorry-I meant to address Everyday Mommy too.

Chris said...

Tournifreak:

I don't think Driscoll needs your defense of what he is certainly aware of on his own. As Phil noted, he made contact with him well in advance and told him he would be discussing his manner of preaching at the conference (amongst those insensitive Calvinists); furthermore, as was cited in Phil's plenary, he is fully aware of the media hype surrounding his controversial "preaching style", as he almost seems to enjoy pushing the envelope out into the public eye in the name of "transparency". Perhaps this is his definition of reformation? He likes the controversy, his brash approach, and his progressive style. I'm sure he'd be the first to say it is silly for anyone to come to his defense over that which he makes quite public in attempt to portray him as some sort of a quiet wallflower.

Chris said...

Tournifreak:

Preach the Word. Absolutely. Sola Scriptura...Sola Fide.

So spricht der HERR said...

Anybody ever talk to a KJV only advocate?

The comments on these posts often remind me of those conversations. If you don't abide by our standard you are a perverter of the Word of God and/or abusing the Word of God in some form.

Will somebody correct me if I'm in error, but, where exactly did Tournifreak say the Word is not "enough"? He's simply asking how to address certain issues. The way some people respond on here you would think the Pastor's job is not to explain or address anything, just open the Bible and start reading and then trust the whole Spirit.

I don't know. I don't read the comments too much... are you one of those nasty little trolls, Tournifreak?

Tournifreak said...

Many thanks to "Rabbit" and "So spricht der HERR" for coming up with some practical, positive suggestions for dealing with sexuality in a church context. That was my original question - thanks for taking the time to address it.

Now, as for Driscoll, I'll say it again for the benefit of those who don't seem to be able to hear me: I think he goes too far *occasionally*. But in his SoS series, the only time I can think of is the notorious "hand" joke. He deals with the most intimate parts of SoS in a way that I did not feel was irreverent, or sordid, or dirty. There is still a prevailing attitude among very many people that sex is either the be-all and end-all of life, or that it is disgusting and dishonouring to God. Driscoll debunks both ideas with reference to God's holy word.

Like I said before, I think it is legitimate to explain the imagery in SoS (again, not in a family service!), because 1) almost no-one will understand the word otherwise, and 2) because in explaining God's delight in sexual behaviour in marriage, it helps us achieve a healthy, Biblical attitude to sex.

Raulemir said...

I hear Phil's message live on Friday. He good stuff. Best thing to happen next?

(1) People start asking evangelical leaders who stay silent on Driscoll why they no speak out against him.
(2) People start asking evangelical leaders who defend Driscoll to please respond to Phil message.

Pretty easy to find web pages to send questions to these men.

Time for people in pew to make these leaders accountable. They need feel heat.

Dave said...

Yes the Word of God does not come back void, so why do we have pastors again? In your example then you personally couldn't have any sin, because you would be "fully grounded and immersed in the Word of God." Between that and the Holy Spirit bringing "to mind their sin, give them a sense of revulsion over it, draw believers to repentance, give them a love for Scripture and a desire to please the Lord, and equip them to stand firm." Then oficially we never even needed Phil to give this message or this blog. Overstating the case sinks the boat. Mommy, Even John MacArthur's church has sin and issues or he wouldn't need to counsel. So is John's church not teaching the Word correctly? Or is the case where the Holy Spirit didn't justify and sanctify properly enough for Rabbit, so they are unbelievers? The Word of God calls us to preach and teach, to counsel and explain the Word. Believers will falter even when spending hours in the Word, sin doesn't disappear completely no matter how long you study. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater because you think Driscoll doesn't preach correctly.

Rabbit said...

Lark, I’m quite certain that nearly everyone in nearly every church struggles with sexual sin. Among many other reasons, I’m opposed to lewd sexual talk from the pulpit because it is akin to speaking weekly to a Weight Watchers’ group about dessert recipes.

Regarding my attitude, I trust Phil, Dan, or Frank to correct me if I have been disrespectful or in error. I am not naïve, I’m woefully aware of the lack of Scriptural literacy even among so-called pastors and particularly among so-called Christians. When any brother or sister is in error – you, me, a pastor – we who are spiritual should come alongside, lovingly correct, and do all we can to restore. Amen?

Everyday Mommy said...

"I think it is legitimate to explain the imagery in SoS (again, not in a family service!), because 1) almost no-one will understand the word otherwise"

Gee, Tournifreak...you don't think very highly of your congregation.

Chris said...

HERR:

Through masterful exposition of God's word by a seasoned journeyman. Let's see, Spurgeon, lloyd-Jones, Barnhouse, G. Cambell Morgan, Boice, MacArthur, Mohler, Lawson, Piper, and Johnson....and the list goes on and on and on.

Put the Word before culture and culture finds its place therein; put culture before the Word and the Word isn't heard from again.

Rabbit said...
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Rabbit said...

Like I said before, I think it is legitimate to explain the imagery in SoS (again, not in a family service!), because 1) almost no-one will understand the word otherwise, and 2) because in explaining God's delight in sexual behaviour in marriage, it helps us achieve a healthy, Biblical attitude to sex.

Tournifreak - I think you are taking yourself much too seriously. 'No-one will understand otherwise?' Sir - that is the job of the Holy Spirit. With respect for your calling: get out of His way.

Eric said...

Tournifreak,

Remember the context in which you have chosen to ask your questions. You changed the topic to being whether and how the topic of sex can/should be addressed in church. You have also made excusing and dismissive statements that can be viewed as a defense of Mark Driscoll's purposefull, willfull, and regular use of sordid, crude language and stories. Please don't be surprised when people react to that. Even your last comment characterizes Mark's comments as "occasional" in an attempt to minimize them, when in fact, he has become widely known for this behavior. He did not have that repuation foisted upon him, rather he earned it.

Also, as to your question about how to handle sexual matters and your lack of time to counsel individually, I think one important cog has been overlooked: godly elders. Elders that involve themselves in the spiritual lives of their church members will also have opportunity to instruct and give wise counsel. All pastoral care in a church ought not be heaped on the minister.

Rabbit said...

Or is the case where the Holy Spirit didn't justify and sanctify properly enough for Rabbit, so they are unbelievers?

Neither EverydayMommy nor I have said preaching/teaching is unnecessary. Please don't leap to unjustified conclusions.

At some point, the pastor in the pulpit who has done his job by faithfully and accurately teaching the Word for his congregation must let the Holy Spirit do His job, which is to bring conviction, repentance, a love for the Word, and a desire to please the Lord. No pastor can do that on his own, and those very things are the proof of our salvation.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Phil,

I listened to your sermon twice and thought it was masterful---accurate, contextual, well-applied, bringing us right down to where they were in Crete while not being Cretan. I had only one thing that I disagreed with, but I'm not going to bring that in to this thread. It was hard preaching.

Even though you said Driscoll's name twice, you mentioned Crete being worse even than Seattle once, that made it obvious there who you were referring to. You also used the word 'grunge culture," which made it again obvious.

One obvious practical conclusion that I heard very loud from you was that Mark Driscoll should step out of the ministry. Someone doesn't talk like that who isn't immersed in the world. I don't see how anyone could have missed that. What might be confusing to evangelicals, I would think, is how that so many that seem to be very close in fellowship with you not only don't make that conclusion, but they give him very public praise and endorsement---Piper, Carson, Dever, gospel fellowship, ETC. So on the one side, you say "you're disqualified," and on the other side, they say, "he's fantastic."

Anyway, I enjoyed listening to your message, Phil.

Strong Tower said...

I have enjoyed the series on what it takes to be and Elder.

One thing that we can't say about Driscoll is that he meets those qualifications. He never did. And those who support his continuance in the ministry deny their own teaching concerning it.

That is a big issue, if not the issue.

IMAO

"He's simply asking how to address certain issues."

And he was told. Not from the pulpit, but in either individual counseling, or in a classes designed for that purpose or another private venue. But in neither case should it be done with flippant disregard for the restrictions place upon such speech within Scripture. Driscoll shows calloussed disregard and by that disqualifies himself as one of those who are spiritually called to restore. Driscoll has gone public with matters best left behind closed doors. Like it or not, we don't give sexual counsel in the public square. This Driscoll has done and more than that he has published it on line. It is not that these things should never be spoken of, but Driscoll shows no conscience of propriety. His earnest approach would be to withdraw from the pulpit until he grows up and attains to at least the mimimal qualitficaitions for ministry. Men who should know better are enabling him to continue and to be justified in his sin. They know what the qualification for the pulpit are, they teach them, but when it comes to Driscoll, they deny their own teaching and install him in what Scripture calls a beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable task. In doing so they have dishonored it.

Tournifreak said...

Raulemir,
You go boy - make him feel heat. That's just what our best preachers and teachers need right now. More infighting and abuse from so-called brothers and sisters, stirring up division and trouble.

Meanwhile the real emergents, Bell, McLaren et al, they can just carry right on and mislead our youth with their no-gospel message, eh? Because we're too busy arguing over which Bible-focussed, Calvinistic, Reformed, well-read, gospel-proclaiming, counter-cultural, gifted preacher is better.

What Driscoll needs is good men to surround him and gently persuade him out of telling *that* joke. He has several good men around him, and I suspect they will be talking about this stuff sooner or later. Meanwhile, how about we give the guy a break, eh?

So spricht der HERR said...

Chris,
In all due respect, I have no idea how what you said applies to me... unless you are agreeing with me because I just agreed with you...
Look at my picture. I'm not exactly keen on being "culture-friendly" ; )

God Bless

Daryl said...

Lark (and no doubt others),

Be honest, PLEASE. Don't try and claim that because women don't have the same issues as men so they don't understand Driscoll.

As a man let me say this. Lewd and inappropriate speech from the pulpit brings with it the temptation to lust for guys. You may not want to admit it but it's true. The reason that kind of preaching becomes popular is because we (people) all like to have our lusts justified and permitted, and what permits it more than a preacher talking dirty from the pulpit?

Having seen XXXchurch's presentaion in a church I used to attend, I can attest that that is exactly what that topic, wrongly handled, does.

The women are right. And besides, even if they don't understand, but are merely embarrassed beyond belief to be sitting beside some guy during that talk, that alone is reason to no permit that kind of preaching.

I don't for a second believe that anyone who asks "How can we preach about sex without being explicit and irreverent" is asking with the slightest bit of sincerity. It's ridiculous.

As far as talking about the 'M' work from the pulpit, why would you need to discuss a topic utterly foreign to half of the congregation? Wnd why is it necessary to do it then? Would it be so hard to discuss lust without discussing the resulting actions? Would it be so difficult to say "Anyone with specific issues should speak with an elder" or "we have literature that deals with these issues in a more explicit way".

Smutty language (and I speak as someone who know how to use it, sadly) is a sure sign that someone has bothered to consider their congregation, God, or just how they could say things differently.

But Phil pretty much said all that...

LeeC said...

No, it should not be heaped upon a psator, but ALL Christians are to be ministers to one another. Is your pastor preaching and teaching in a way to equip the body to minister to one another, both individually and in small groups? is he/are you discipling and raising up men in your midst as called? If the pastor feels the only way he can reach his flock on personal counselling issues is publicly from the pulpit then i think he needs to take a long hard look at what the Bible calls him to do for the flock.

Teach them, equip them, preach the Word, exhort them to minister to one another individually and in smallgroup Bible studies ect.

Chris said...

Tournifreak:

Nobody is saying that such matters should not be addressed by churches and their pastors. There are many venues, as you well know, in any healthy church, for such matters to be addressed. Concerning the pulpit, such matters should be addressed within strict adherence to bible exposition. Look, it's a simple formula: preach the Word, and when the Word arrives at such places, a pastor's job is to dilligently exposit those passages dealing with such matters as faithfully as he preaches (and fully prepares) anything else. I may sound like a broken record, but the pulpit is and should be holy; hence, superfluous topical messages, that focus entirely on a particular social issue or problem, are unholy; using foul language to enhance such a message is that much more unholy. Again, a healthy church may have other forums or resources in which to address such things. When a faithful pastor steps into that holy pulpit to exposit the word in reverence and in awe, the holy spirit convicts every person in attendance with what they need to hear. Ed Young hardly understands this, as he thinks bringing that obnoxious bed on the stage somehow makes more of an impact in people's lives than the work of the holy spirit. At the conference, John made the point that when a pastor exposits the Word faithfully, he is teaching by implication from the scriptures...which leads to every application that anyone in the congregation needs. What is so hard for some to understand or accept in this truth? It is perfectly clear...when one trusts the power of God's Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Again, Sola Fide.

Frank Turk said...

I love 100-comments threads. 150 anyone?

DJP said...

PJ told me he won't even look at it until it reaches 200.

Tournifreak said...

Everyday Mommy,

"Gee, Tournifreak...you don't think very highly of your congregation."

Well I have yet to meet anyone (other than Driscoll) who can explain why the "twin fawns of a gazelle" resemble any obvious body part. Lots of SoS of very hard to understand. As a faithful expositor, he explains it. Without a good expositor, huge chunks of it would go over the heads of the hearers.

I love my congregation. That's why I want them to understand ALL of God's word. Not just the comfortable bits.

Eric said...

"Is your pastor preaching and teaching in a way to equip the body to minister to one another, both individually and in small groups? is he/are you discipling and raising up men in your midst as called?"

LeeC,

To whom was this question addressed? Was it addressed to me, since you referenced my comment about heaping all pastoral duties on the minister? If so, my answer is "yes".

LeeC said...

Tournifreak,

We have classes. When preaching the Word PREACH THE WORD, but we have "Tune up your marriage" classes annually, and many small groups and monthly mens breakfasts where purity is discussed, sometimes in detail, but never vulgarly.

You can hear them on our website Calvarybiblechurch.org.

Daryl said...

Tournifreak,

Ummm, I knew what that meant when I was 10, reading the bible alone...your congregation wouldn't understand that why?

Please, be honest.

Tournifreak said...

Daryl,

"As far as talking about the 'M' work from the pulpit, why would you need to discuss a topic utterly foreign to half of the congregation?"

I think your comment sums up the problem quite nicely. You think it is a topic that is utterly foreign? Either you have a *really* holy congregation, or no idea. A recent survey among students in the UK showed that this was the #1 cause of guilt and shame among Christian men, and the #4 among Christian women.

It's the head-in-the-sand mentality of so many Christians that results in so many (especially young people) having such unBiblical views of sexuality.

Driscoll makes the point in one of his sermons that as parents in this generation, we not only need to explain to our kids that virginity is a sacred and precious gift to be saved for marriage, but also what virginity is. Because non-penetrative sexual experimentation is so rife among teens that a large proportion have no idea what counts. Who is going to tell them? Who is going to proclaim the truth that sets them free? Or should we just keep quiet and let them figure it out for themselves because we're too embarrassed to address the real issues?

Tournifreak said...

Daryl,

I live in a rural part of Suffolk, UK. We're not very bright round here, obviously.

LeeC said...

Eric, yes it was. But more to the comment than to you.
I do think that some of the ecuses I keep hearing are "What do you expect us to do? Just ignore the issue?"

And to that I say no, teach and preach the Word faithfully, in a way that is proper for all to hear. Exhort and rasie up your congregation to help one another more privately for more personal application.

Daryl said...

Tournifreak,

Don't assume it's about embarrassment or head-in-the-sand. So my numbers were off, my point stands.
Dealing with lust automatically deals with the "M" word. And if you can't discuss virginity with out saying "non-penetrative sex" well then perhaps the subject needs to be avoided until you learn some vocabulary.

The options are not impropriety on the one hand and conplete silence on the other...as som many have already pointed out.

Eric said...

LeeC,

Thanks for the clarification. I believe we see things alike.

LeeC said...

Perfect example. Tournifreak.
So preach on just what the bible considers adultry within the text. no need at all for getting graphic. If even looking at a woman with lust is sinfull, then expound upon that. bam, not one unwholesome joke or word needed, point made.

Yes we take purity seriously both at my church and at GCC. We certainly do not think that impurity is an isolated thing, and struggling with sexual sin is a rare thing. We go after it aggressively.

Chris said...

HERR:

With all due respect, and I mean that, you said:

"Will somebody correct me if I'm in error, but, where exactly did Tournifreak say the Word is not "enough"? He's simply asking how to address certain issues."

My comment in reply to you is that correction you requested. Tournifreak's clear implication in defense of Driscoll's approach and use of foul language as somehow being culturally relevant or necessary asserts quite clearly that the Word is not enough; that preaching in a manner worthy of the pulpit is not quite enough because, after all, we have people in the pews with "real problems" out there who need "real answers" in an "honest" way; we need preaching that "fits the 21st century." I realize that Tournifreak did not use all of the quoted words above specifically, as I'm referring to the collective mindset out there who say things like this every day. I've read plenty of comments like this in other places. From what Tournifreak has said, I do not imagine he would disagree sharply with any of these quotes, as he is probably sincere in finding truth in them. However, when someone thinks anything needs to be added to the faithful exposition of the Word of God in a reverent manner, such thinking is, by default, displaying a lack of trust in the power of the Word alone...which is the primary purpose of the pastor.

Shinar Squirrel said...

Tournifreak – I don't have the time to privately counsel dozens and dozens of young adults on all these issues. It took Driscoll 12 hours to "do" SoS. How can I address those issues that a huge proportion of my congregation struggle with? Isn't that one of the reasons why we address issues in the pulpit rather than 1-2-1?

The Bible’s message on sex is really quite simple – If you’re married, enjoy it with your spouse. Sex was God’s idea, and it is great! If you’re not married, sex is not for you! That’s really all we need to say from the pulpit, any more detailed discussion needs to be in a more private setting.

As for not having enough time to “counsel dozens and dozens of young adults on all these issues” – that’s why the church has ELDERS, plural, more than one. Duh.

The Squirrel

Everyday Mommy said...

Question: Who thinks that the Song of Solomon is about sex?

Eric said...

"Who is going to tell them?"

Tournifreak,

Here is one idea: godly parents.

refogirl said...

Tournifreak:

I'm a youth. Guess what...we're smarter than you think we are. We don't need things explained to us in graphic detail. We get it. You aren't helping us by going into great detail. In fact, it causes us to struggle with sexual sin even more. If you want to help us, preach the Word. The Word IS enough.

You said so many young people have unbiblical views of sexuality. Gee, I wonder why? Leave out the culturally-relevant explanations of sex and keep it biblical. The Word of God is really enough on this topic. It's not rocket science. Give us a little more credit and most importantly, don't diminish the power of the Word.

Tournifreak said...

Eric, And what of those who were abused by their dad, and disowned by their mum?

Obviously Godly parents are the ideal, but not the norm in a growing church in an post-Christian society.

LeeC said...

As to the "Who is going to tell them"
Seriously, I have an issue with when churches get so big that the shepherds cannot personally know their sheep and minister to them individually. Some churches do a good job at breaking it down, I know GCC does, but people fall through the cracks.

If your church is that big then think about planting another one or something. Bring on more elders, equip the body to minister to one another better and hold them accountable for it.

Many youth do not have the godly parents Eric is talking about, but there should be shepherds amog the flock to...you got it SHEPHERD them. Not as a faceless mass, but as individuals that are struggling with real pain, suffering trials and temptations. Those undershepherds should also seek out godly "laymen" and youths to create smallgroups and such to help them with accountablity.

Offcolour jokes and rough language from the pulpit is no substitute for really coming alongside one of us sheep and helping us out of the ditch.

Stan McCullars said...

Tournifreak, (whose Profile is Not Available):

If a pastor feels compelled to preach on masturbation I would suggest he may be in the wrong line of work.

Eric is right: godly parents.

How about Titus 2:1-8?

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Jack said...

There is a large swathe of the Young Reformed who love to make fun of Fundamentalism. It isn't just earthy language, or cursing. It's also vices like smoking or drinking. These vices are engaged in with a triumphant, superior manner, as if by puffing on cigars or swilling home-brewed beer makes you enlightened, freed, and demonstrates your grasp of grace in contrast to the pinchy old Fundamentalists. There's also the problem of most of us coming out of a culture that has become so dulled and defiled regarding sex humor and sexual language. The younger Reformed should show that grace has reformed our sexual mentalities and words, not just changed our view of free will.

Raulemir said...

Tournifreak,

Men who have leadership have responsibility to those who follow them. They want the man in the pew to buy their books and support their ministry.

Having assumed the mantle of leadership, they have to take the responsibility that goes with it--and that includes answering legitimate questions from those who follow. You can't set yourself up as a national leader and then duck legitimate questions on tough issues.

Part of that responsibility, in a time like this, is to explain their inconsistency in proclaiming a high view of the glory of God and the marks of an effective church while supporting (or remaining silent) a pastor who tears down with his words and conduct the very thing the leaders say they support.

*The* main question about Driscoll and his ilk is why national leaders embrace him--or at least, remain silent in the face of the provocation. Those national leaders are giving him a platform that he otherwise would not have. They need to answer to those who value biblical purity.

I'm not saying the questions should be angry and hostile. Firm questions can be asked in a gentle way. Easy enough to say, "Mr. Leader, I heard Phil Johnson's message. Can you explain to me biblically where he is wrong? And if he's right, will you join with him at such a time as this? Your voice matters, Mr. Leader. Please let us hear from you."

That's not being divisive. That's a Berean spirit that examines things closely to see whether these things are so.

I have no sympathy for a man who asks others to follow but won't take a stand when an issue is put in front of him. He's not too busy. It's his calling to *lead*.

Tournifreak said...

refoGirl,

Thanks for commenting. I'm delighted in your obvious passion for the Word. I have no interest or desire to go further than the Word of God does itself. However, I do think that there are some who are not prepared to discuss some of the issues that the Bible does discuss.

God gave us an entire book of the Bible devoted to the subjects of love, romance, marriage and sex. (Hope that answers your question, Everyday Mommy) By not being prepared to engage with it, we dishonour God's word.

Daryl said...

Tournifreak,

You're losing traction with every answer.
Not every detail of every life can or should be address from the pulpit.
Sadly, your answers sound more and more like there is no one else in your church capable of speaking truth into a life. If that is the case, I am sorry. May God bring people to come alongside you to help.
But I suspect that it is not the case. It really sound like you're searching for an excuse.

Listen, please. That kind of discussion from the pulpit arouses lust in mens hearts (I can't speak for the women but I would guess that it happens for them too). The risk is too great. Think little children and millstones before speaking that way and begin to search your people for elders who are capable of providing godly advice to specific issues in the congregation.

I won't listen to MD because I know why I would want to, and I know the effect it would have, and it would not be good.

Protect the sheep, don't expose each sheep to every other sheeps issues. Sheep adopt issues quite willingly. Don't give them cause.

DJP said...

Tagging up with Raulemir:

I'd also ask — if Phil Johnson, who graciously tried to engage Driscoll in personal dialogue first, doesn't have the standing to pose the question to Driscoll, then who does?

SolaMommy said...

Tournifreak: How do you teach a Biblical approach to masturbation without mentioning masturbation?

"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matt 5:27-28

DONE. It's enough easy to do w/o profaning Scripture, as per Phil's example.

Jugulum said...

"So preach on just what the bible considers adultry within the text. no need at all for getting graphic. If even looking at a woman with lust is sinfull, then expound upon that. bam, not one unwholesome joke or word needed, point made."

You think that's the only thing to be exposited or applied?

Saying "Even looking with lust is adultery" doesn't settle questions like: (1) What's the difference between lust and feeling attraction to my girlfriend/boyfriend/beau/fiance? (2) Why is kissing OK, but other "not all the way" activity isn't? Is extra-marital kissing OK? What kind of attracted physical interaction maintains holiness? Should we restrict ourselves to holding hands? Not even that? (3) What does a positive view of holiness in sexuality look like, such that we stop thinking about it in terms of "Where's the line? How far can I go?"

Raulemir said...

To everyone but Tournifreak:

Your questions to these leaders can matter. It's fine to analyze the issue, but if you're convinced by what Phil has said, you can do more than add a supporting voice in the comment thread.

If you're confused by national leaders who tacitly or explicity endorse men who abuse their pulpits with lewd language, contact them and ask them. You don't have to sit by passively as these leaders enable a man to dishonor God in the pulpit.

Tournifreak said...

Can I just ask, how many people on here have actually seen/heard one of Driscoll's talks from his SoS series, all the way through?

Just out of interest, (perhaps this thread will reach 200+)!!

Tournifreak said...

DJP:

Yes, I agree, PJ is in a good position to bring gentle rebuke to MD. But Raulemir was going much further than that.

Solameanie said...

It seems to me that Romans 1 is an excellent example of how to broach touchy subjects like sex in public teaching. Paul didn't have to spell things out in graphic terms to make his point.

Even in Deuteronomy and the rather direct prohibitions on homosexual practices are discreet. "One shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female." You didn't have descriptions down to the nitty gritty of what happens in such encounters.

The long and short of it is that being graphic in public just isn't necessary. Protestations aside, it's a bit hard for me not to think that the reason a lot of these guys do it is to be seen as knowledgeable and hip by the culture rather than a real reason to help people develop a biblical view of sex.

And if that is indeed the motivation, kindly tell me how one is taught to restrain their passions when said preacher/teacher is throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire through his language and the imagery it conjures up?

SolaMommy said...

Jugulum:Saying "Even looking with lust is adultery" doesn't settle questions like: (1) What's the difference between lust and feeling attraction to my girlfriend/boyfriend/beau/fiance?

A biblical explanation of love vs. lust should do the trick.

(2) Why is kissing OK, but other "not all the way" activity isn't? Is extra-marital kissing OK? What kind of attracted physical interaction maintains holiness? Should we restrict ourselves to holding hands? Not even that?

Who says kissing is okay? If it causes you to lust, it's not. Again, teach what lust is.

(3) What does a positive view of holiness in sexuality look like, such that we stop thinking about it in terms of "Where's the line? How far can I go?"

If they're asking "how far can I go" they're asking the wrong question. That person should be thinking in terms of what would honor and glorify God, not what they can get away with.

This is not rocket science.

LeeC said...

Jugulum,

Lets not be coy here. This is a blog, you want me to clrify? I'm not writing a sermon. ALL sexual thoughts and actions are for the wife/husband that you are going to or have married and no one else. Yes, I believe the Bible teaches that ANYTHING else adultery.

You know it's kind of like how God views His glory and worship. he is jealous of it and rightly so. Do not give glory or worship to anything other than Him, or you are sinning. The same with sexual thoughts and actions in regards to your future or current spouse.

If you can't preach that without getting vulgar, well Phil covered my sentiments on that nicely.

Solameanie said...

Jugulum,

I think common sense tells you the difference between being attracted to someone (which has many levels) and feeding the desire to jump into the sack.

Don't we tend to parse things a bit too much these days?

Everyday Mommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Turk said...

If you people haven't gotten this thing up to 175 comments by the time I came back with my salad, I'll be ashamed of you all.

What kind of controversy can't even get 200 comments? Sheesh.

Everyday Mommy said...

"How do you teach a Biblical approach to masturbation without mentioning masturbation?"

To quote Bob Newhart...STOP! IT!

Tournifreak said...

Daryl,

"That kind of discussion from the pulpit arouses lust in mens hearts (I can't speak for the women but I would guess that it happens for them too). The risk is too great. Think little children and millstones before speaking that way"

Sure, it's a sensitive subject. I've said that many time in this thread. And a mixed-age congregation is not the right place (I've said that a few times too). And probably single-sex is also a good idea. I commended someone else who suggested that.

But you seem to be saying that there are parts of the Bible that we should not discuss because they might cause us to stumble into sin. I don't get that. The Word should be expounded faithfully and clearly - where it describes sexual acts, surely we should be prepared to preach/teach those verses? Or do we ignore David's adultery with Bathsheba too? And the stuff about Lot in Genesis 19, in case it arouses homosexual urges in someone?

I'm just calling for faithful, honest exposition of the word. Not sordid, not using rude jokes, not being unnecessarily graphic.

In my opinion, Driscoll (with the exception of *the* joke) does all those things. And I can't see why he is such a target.

For what it's worth, I haven't found the (tiny bit) I've seen of Ed Young all that helpful. I have no idea where he is theologically. As for XXXChurch, I daren't look up their website at church, and it would probably be blocked at home.

Stan McCullars said...

Everyday Mommy : Your Bob Newhart reference earns you hero status!

Shinar Squirrel said...

"How do you teach a Biblical approach to masturbation without mentioning masturbation?"

Well, if you can "m" without thinking lustful thoughts, then I guess that'd be ok...

Just trying to get the comment number up for Frank...

The Squirrel

Deb_B said...

"Can I just ask, how many people on here have actually seen/heard one of Driscoll's talks from his SoS series, all the way through?"

Aye here. And your point is?

Stefan said...

134 comments, and it's not even 10:30 a.m. here on the West Coast.

Oy gevelt, I have a lot of reading to do.

refogirl said...

Have we totally missed Stan McCullars' comment?

What about Titus 2:1-8?

Is that not your alternative, Tournifreak?

Everyday Mommy said...

Thanks, Stan ;)

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daryl said...

I'll sum it up for you Stefan...

"Don't do it"

"Why not"

"Don't do it"

"But I can't...'

"Then don't"

"But I like to..."

"Don't care, don't do it"

"Why not"

"God"

"Oh...but can I..."

"Get a grip"

That's pretty much the conversation so far.

Strong Tower said...

"Yes, I agree, PJ is in a good position to bring gentle rebuke to MD."

gentle rebuke gentle rebuke gentle rebuke gentle rebuke gentle rebuke gentle rebuke gentle rebuke

Just trying to put this together...

and it ain't working.

How about this. "Mark, you're unfit for the pulpit." Too harsh, try this: "Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord."

Notice last sentence. It doesn't say, but I suppose, that the brothers didn't commend the other two. Mark would later rejoin once he became useful. But for the time-being, this bad boy and his supporter was sent packing.

Gentle rebuke. No, Paul said to Timothy and Titus to charge them not to speak in ways which do not adorn the Gospel and to silence, stop others. When you put yourself forward as a leader, the meat chubs get bigger.

"back with my salad" Is it a figure, hair or eye issue?

Jeff said...

Frank,

I'm still trying to figure out what controversy? But here, I'm the dim bulb in the string. Enjoy your salad.

NoLongerBlind said...

"What does a positive view of holiness in sexuality look like, such that we stop thinking about it in terms of "Where's the line? How far can I go?"


As to how to shepherd one's flock in these sensitive areas, without crossing the line of what is appropriate from the pulpit, one aspect of a God-glorifying approach to sexuality that would help confront the cultural view, without needing to get specific, would be to state that the husband's and wife's - spoken with gender intended - focus and approach should always be from a selfless perspective, as in "do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves"

To Phil--I apologize if this is too far off topic from your post.

Shinar Squirrel said...

BTW, Tournifreak, where does the Bible mention masturbation? And don't say Genesis 38:9, because that was not what was going on there!

The Squirrel

Rabbit said...

But you seem to be saying that there are parts of the Bible that we should not discuss because they might cause us to stumble into sin.

Are we reading the same comment thread?

The Word might cause us to sin? Tournifreak, you’re further out there than I thought. Preach the Word. Preach only the Word. The addition of lewd details that are NOT in the Biblical text, particularly expounding upon such details week after week in a mis-directed sense of “clarifying” for a crowd that clearly has no problem performing or imagining such details on their own, is what causes one to stumble (further) into sin.

Shinar Squirrel said...

How many people just went and looked up Genesis 38:9? Huh? It's a great example of how the Bible deals with delicate subjects - no details needed & everybody gets the point!

The Squirrel

Frank Turk said...

I am here to testify that reading more Bible and watching less TV does bring greater sanctification, and watching more TV and reading less Bible impacts sanctification the other way.

Personal experience. Even if it's only non-Adult Swim Cartoon Network.

Lark said...

Where do people get the idea that clarifying a sin causes people to stumble into that sin? The sin of greed/materialism has had to be clarified/expounded upon for me to understand my sin in that area. It hasn't caused me to want more stuff.

Stefan said...

Daryl, thanks for the summary!

Every time I check back in here, I'm further behind in my reading.

Why do I suspect reading the entire Epistle of James would be a more productive use of my time?

Jugulum said...

Solamommy, LeeC, and Solameanie:

Do you think that the word "lust" applies to the attraction that a husband and wife feel for one another?

If so: Interesting. We'll need some exposition on "lust" to establish that idea.

If not: Then physical activity isn't automatically "lust", and we need to expound more than "don't lust".


A clarification: I was not in any sense commenting on Driscoll's method. Nor was I saying that unwholesome jokes & words are OK. (Though we do need to be careful that we're not "enscripturing" purely personal/cultural criteria for what is "unwholesome".) I was saying that Lee's suggestion needs more meat, that there are more to be said--and yes, we absolutely must be judicious in how we talk.

However, I may have misread Lee's comment. He said:
"If even looking at a woman with lust is sinfull, then expound upon that. bam, not one unwholesome joke or word needed, point made."

I read that as, "Say that looking with lust is wrong, and you're done". But I think we can agree that giving a solid exposition of "lust is sinful" will be more than that. It will get into the answer to my question #1, for instance.


Lee also said,
"ALL sexual thoughts and actions are for the wife/husband that you are going to or have married and no one else."

And what about all "romantic" thoughts? Do you consider holding someone's hand to be romantic-but-not-sexual? Why?

I agree that you can address this without becoming prurient. My point was to make sure that we're defining "expound on lust" in a full sense, so that it actually does address these things.

Chad V. said...

I'm starting to feel like I need a shower.

Daryl said...

Well Lark. In case it has escaped you, sexual temptation is not like other temptations.
Anyone who says otherwise is lying or decieved.

And yes, I mean it that strongly.

Eric said...

Lark,

To speak for others, the point people are making about leading others into sin has to do with being unnecessarily descriptive or titillating in how sex is talked about. If I am prone to lust and other sexually impure thoughts, then a minister or other church authority speaking flipantly or overly descriptively about sex can cause me to stumble. That concept is not that difficult to grasp.

Strong Tower said...

"Why do I suspect reading the entire Epistle of James would be a more productive use of my time?"

By the time you read this thread you could've read Numbers. With just about as much enjoyment and far more sanctification, IMA.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program: "In the Balances and Wanting."

LeeC said...

"Lee also said,
"ALL sexual thoughts and actions are for the wife/husband that you are going to or have married and no one else."

And what about all "romantic" thoughts? Do you consider holding someone's hand to be romantic-but-not-sexual? Why?"



Would you feel comfortable thinking romantic thoughts of another woman if you were a married man? How about romantically holding hands?

Would you, "hold hands romantically" with a man? Why not? How often do you see male heterosexuals holding hands? Why is that so rare?

Again, forgive my brevety, and frequent typos. I have some leeway here at the office, but I need to be a good steward as well and do my job.

LeeC said...

I forgot to add this. Now would your wife be comfortable with you thinking those thoughts or doing those things?


Why, or why not?

Eric said...

"Eric, And what of those who were abused by their dad, and disowned by their mum?

Obviously Godly parents are the ideal, but not the norm in a growing church in an post-Christian society."

Tournifreak,

First, if it's obvious that godly parents are the ideal for dealing with the sexual struggles of teenage children, then why did you ask the following unqualified questions "Because non-penetrative sexual experimentation is so rife among teens that a large proportion have no idea what counts. Who is going to tell them? Who is going to proclaim the truth that sets them free? Or should we just keep quiet and let them figure it out for themselves because we're too embarrassed to address the real issues?"

Nobody here advocated for the strawman that you set up and then pushed over. Who advocated keeping quiet?

Besides godly parents, I earlier spoke of godly elders who could counsel teenagers without godly parents. Also, godly Christian mentors in the line of Titus 2:1-8 (as already mentioned) are also appropriate. You've set up a false either/or scenario. It is not simply a choice of ignoring specific sexual questions/situations or expounding in detail from the pulpit.

Also, if you think that the primary function of SoS is a sexual handbook, you are missing the fact that the primary function of the whole Old Testament is to point to Christ. Remember the two men on the road to Emmaus?

Short Thoughts said...

Phil,

What were the six questions?

DJP said...

Man who lives up to his screen name.

Jugulum said...

Lee,

I think both me and my wife would not be comfortable with me thinking, "I think that woman is a beautiful and admirable Christian sister, and I may want to marry her." Presumably that's OK before marriage.

But perhaps you could say, "Only allow romantic thinking that's inherently part of figuring out whether to marry." That would be consistent...

This may be a wise way. Calling it the prescribed way would require more Biblical exposition. Not that I'm criticizing your brevity. :) I'll keep this in mind, and think about it.

"How often do you see male heterosexuals holding hands? Why is that so rare?"

A pastor friend here in Austin tells me that male friends in various South American countries are in the habit of holding hands. As far as I know, that's just a cultural convention thing.

Jugulum said...

Inching our way to 175.

Frank, how was your salad?

Chris said...

Strong Tower: Bravo! You nailed it, and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of that perfect example earlier for myself. Thanks! Again, it goes back to the entitlement factor; some of these guys are personally offended that someone would even suggest they don't belong in the pulpit--"their" pulpit, so-called. Every pulpit is the Lord's pulpit, and every pulpit's preacher must honor the Lord of His pulpit.

Great comments by so many today!

Tournifreak said...

Hey Rabbit - I was just quoting Daryl!

Rabbit said...

Where do people get the idea that clarifying a sin causes people to stumble into that sin? The sin of greed/materialism has had to be clarified/expounded upon for me to understand my sin in that area. It hasn't caused me to want more stuff.

Sexual sin is not really comparable to greed/materialism; it’s more comparable to gluttony in that it is a God-authored appetite that comes with a standard of how it should be exercised AND a fleshly propensity for sinful abuse, egged on by a self-indulgent culture.

Would you stand before a group of women who struggle with weight issues and (a) clarify gluttony scripturally, expound on self-control and contentment, and encourage these women to submit to God in obedience, teaching them about proper nutrition and advising them on what a healthy diet should look like; or (b) make crass jokes about fat chicks, talk in detail about the temptation of Alfredo sauce and hot fudge, and ham-fistedly chop so-called Scriptural support from any passage you can find about eating? After all, Jesus says we’ll feast with Him at His table, so why not?

Tournifreak said...

Chad V.

If you're going to comment, please read what I have said. Really carefully.

Fred Butler said...

"How do you teach a Biblical approach to masturbation without mentioning masturbation?"

(Fred) It is not that we can't talk about it, it is in what context we talk about it. From the pulpit in mixed company before a few hundred people by the pastor is not the place. A small group men's meeting is a more appropriate place.

Fred

Strong Tower said...

"Man who lives up to his screen name."

Big enough to look over this pile. Maybe he has a higher stand ard. In any case he wasted little time. Or he's an underwear salesman. Quick, check his profile I'll bet he's long on explaining himself.

DJP said...

< stares at ST >

I was referring to the brevity of his comment.

Solameanie said...

Maybe all this depends on what "is" means.

I hope you all get the arched eyebrow in that comment, in all of its intended historical and current, relevant splendor.

Strong Tower said...

I was referring to his briefs, also.

Tournifreak said...

Eric,

"Also, if you think that the primary function of SoS is a sexual handbook, you are missing the fact that the primary function of the whole Old Testament is to point to Christ. Remember the two men on the road to Emmaus?"

Pot, meet kettle. Did I ever say the primary function of SoS was a sexual handbook? Sounds like you just used a straw-man argument....

LeeC said...

Lark,
Unlike other sins and temptations were are told in 1 Cor. 6:18: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."

Don't fool around, don't resist or fight FLEE.

I believe we need to heed that.

Jugulum said...

Solameanie,

Was that directed at my comments, or something else?

Tournifreak said...

You know Frank. I totally agree. We deliberately didn't have a TV for the first few years of our marriage. Did us a lot of good. Hardly watch it now either, really.

Caleb Kolstad said...

Thanks for your sermon Phil. I addressed this very point over at Expository Thoughts on Feb 14. You provided some great evidence from Scripture that back up many of our shared concerns.

Tournifreak said...

Shinar Squirel:

The Bible never mentions "m". Which is interesting in itself, no?

Stefan said...

Re: sanctification and Scripture.

In his session, Phil quoted Paul in his letter to Titus:

To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. (Titus 1:15-16).

This bears some echo of Paul's second letter to Timothy:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

How do we become "unfit for any good work"? Profess to know God, but deny Him by our works, making ourselves detestable and disobedient.

How to we become "equipped for every good work"? Study God-breathed Scripture, which is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, that we may become competent.

There seems to be an implied antithesis between studying Scripture and denying God by our works; in other words, that good works as the fruit of the Spirit proceed from a careful study of Scripture.

Everyday Mommy said...

Tournifreak:

"Stop it or I'll bury you in a box!" -- Bob Newhart

Jeff said...

Tournifreak,

No.

LeeC said...
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Stefan said...

And by the way, the application from my last comment applies first and foremost to me.

When there is a discordance between what I read in Scripture and what I actually do in my own life, there's a problem.

LeeC said...

Heh, and thats a very relevant point Tournifreak.

It covers the subject, but it is a heart issue that leads to the action you speak of. So let us address hearts and their motivations and the actions brought on by those hearts will be addressed no?

Chris said...

Tournifreak:

The bible makes it quite clear, actually: "fornication" covers a number of deviations from God's design for sexuality. For further implication, how is "m" an example of "loving his wife as Christ loves the church"? For that matter, anything that is selfish opposes the directive to love as Christ loves. Here's something interesting: we have been able to discuss a matter pertaining to sexuality without resorting to gutter language in doing so. Why is it that some guys in pulpits aren't able to do the same...where it matters that much more?

Phil Johnson said...

OK, I didn't anticipate so many comments, and I have been busy with other things this morning. By the time I got around to reading the blog, there were 158 comments already. That doesn't bode well, but I'm going to try to go through and answer all the important questions and comments in order. Here we go:

Tournifreak: "Obviously we live in a sex-saturated culture. And that fact leaves people with serious questions about how their sexuality relates to spirituality. How do we address those sensitive questions?"

In private discussions and in the counseling room. That's what pastors have done for 2000 years.

Ever seen the ruins of Pompeii? Ever heard about the brothels that dominate the ruins of Corinth? Paul lived and traveled in a culture that was at least as sex-saturated as ours. He didn't find it necessary to answer everyone's questions about people's intimate perversions in a public forum using gutter language.

Tournifreak: "If the pulpit is not the right place for frank speech about those subjects than where is a more appropriate place?"

Are you serious? See above. Here's a basic guideline: Calls to holiness? Make them public. Detailed instructions about the most intimate aspects of the marriage act? Keep it private. It's ironic that evangelicals today want it backwards. You have a complaint about a guy who goes on CNN and tells a dirty joke? "You should express that privately to him." You've got a head full of explicit words, sex-jokes, and instructions for unconventional sex techniques? "You need to say that from the pulpit." Yikes.

Aaron: "you delt with new testment instances of "dirty" talk. But what about old Testment instances?Like Ezekiel Chapter 16 where words like harolt and whordom are used?"

Same principle applies. There are some extraordinary sections in Ezekiel's prophecy, and Ezekiel's graphic condemnations of spiritual adultery need to be explained for what they are. He wasn't just using the words "harlot" and "whordeom" as crass insults. He was drawing the parallel between actual prostitution and Israel's spiritual philandering.

You didn't mention Ezekiel 23:20, which seems to be the go-to verse for people looking for sexually graphic language in Scripture. I would neither mince words nor use profane words if I did an exposition of that passage. I would also make the point that Ezekiel's use of such a verbal picture certainly doesn't give us license to weave filthiness, foolish talk, and crude joking into our speech all the time. Ezekiel was commenting on the base motives Israel had for her spiritual adulteries. He wasn't making a joke or performing for laughs.

Dave: "However, when you start at the speech issue and then jump into the legalistic pond fishing for other issues you may not like/agree with then you lose the voice of Biblical correction and end up sounding like a personal attack."

Interesting comment. I'd be curious to know precisely what you found "legalistic" in anything I said.

Also, "the speech issue" is not my central concern at all, but merely one shocking illustration of the evangelical movement's utter failure when it comes to the matter of sanctification. In the text I was dealing with, Paul instructed Titus to be a counter-cultural in his behavior, in his teaching, and in his speech. "The speech issue" is actually fairly low on my list of concerns. I thought I made that clear above.

Perhaps you think any practical application of the doctrine of sanctification is "legalistic"? That's what lots of evangelicals today seem to think.
_______________________________

This is already too long for a single comment. I'll post it, and keep replying to comments in order as time permits today.

Eric said...

"Eric,

"Also, if you think that the primary function of SoS is a sexual handbook, you are missing the fact that the primary function of the whole Old Testament is to point to Christ. Remember the two men on the road to Emmaus?"

Pot, meet kettle. Did I ever say the primary function of SoS was a sexual handbook? Sounds like you just used a straw-man argument...."

Tournifreak,

That was not a strawman. I did not say that you said as much. I merely stated that if you felt that way, then you missed the point. And, don't act as if you gave no reason for one to believe that you may feel that way. It was you that earlier said "God gave us an entire book of the Bible devoted to the subjects of love, romance, marriage and sex." Now, do the words "devoted to" mean anything, or not?

Also, is there a reason why you didn't address any of the questions I asked in that same response?

Rachael Starke said...

Rabbit,
As someone who has battled those issues in the past, I'd recommend they'd read this thread.

I am so not hungry right now.

Everyday Mommy said...

Tournifreak:

"Did I ever say the primary function of SoS was a sexual handbook?"

Uh...yeah..you did.

"God gave us an entire book of the Bible devoted to the subjects of love, romance, marriage and sex. (Hope that answers your question, Everyday Mommy)..."

Lark said...

This is an illuminating thread. Tournifreak asks some genuine, legitimate questions in his first post and is attacked all day long. Puritan, a couple of posts down, implies (I said implies) that Driscoll is unregenerate and no one comments.

LeeC said...

And I addressed you directly and it was passed over Lark.

Eric said...

Lark,

Could it be that Tournifreak is getting genuine, legitimate answers and not being "attacked"?

I've interacted with Tournifreak a number of times here today. Can you help me understand how I (for one) have been "attacking" him?

DJP said...

...and Lark shows no willingness to discuss the actual subject of the post or the talk; just to complain and make snide insinuations about everyone else.

Frank Turk said...

Somebody axed up above what the 6 questions were, and while I think that's not really relevant, here's how I think that question should be answered:

Someone who is sticking up for Mark Driscoll needs to ask him what the 6 questions were, and what his answer(s) to those questions were/are.

Right now we're treading on a kind of voyveurism which, I think, is unhealthy. Phil has said his piece and then some here -- he has made his position crystal clear. How about if someone who thinks he was impugned by this message does what he has suggested to many pastors to do and man up.

I suspect that the 6 questions were fair, straightforward, based on fact and history, and could be answered in a way which would make Pastor Driscoll's position very clear.

That would be the way to find out what was asked and what was said which doesn;t make Phil the only person with bacon in the fire here.

Everyday Mommy said...

I'm thinking we can reach 200 by close of business today.

Redbeard said...

I just finished listening to the message from the conference. It will be the last of yours that I listen to, and I will no longer read your blog.

It would appear that you are concerned with arguments against Driscoll from several years ago. You claim to only address him twice, but with the "Cussing Apostle" remark you address him because of the nickname Donald Miller gave him in 2003, and the mentioning of Seattles news anchors.

You claim Driscoll is sophomoric in his approach? Your po-motivators are childish at best.

Based on this blog post it would appear that you don't even listen to what Driscoll says, and hear soundbytes without realizing whats going on. The part about your hand finding something its good at? He was saying that it is NOT a verse to condone masturbation, and DEFENDED morality.

Furthermore, you ask why should you be able to point to sermons where Driscoll cusses? Because you accuse him of it, thats why.

When was the last time YOU went on national television and preached the Gospel to the anchor and audience without hinderance? Driscoll has done it several times THIS YEAR.

You accuse him of being like the culture and worldliness, the only difference between his worldliness and yours is that yours is from the 50's and he doesn't require everyone to embrace his ideas of worldliness like you do.

Spend your time doing something other than attacking a man that doesn't care what you think, because he shouldn't.

Strong Tower said...

"bacon in the fire here"

You should have had more than salad.

Shinar Squirrel said...

Centuri0n - we're treading on a kind of voyveurism

It is alot like watching a train wreck, ain't it? You want to look away, but...

Everyday Mommy - I'm thinking we can reach 200 by close of business today.

How 'bout by the end of lunchtime on the west coast?

The Squirrel

LeeC said...

And Redbeard wins the "I don't like what you said and so I'm not going to bother seeing if what I say is true and accurate or not" award.

Wow.

Tournifreak said...

Jeff,
Thanks for taking the time to engage with the issues.

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