I think that Pastor Mark Driscoll says some things that are correct from the Bible–but I’ve found more often than not that I disagree with him on the subject of how women need to be seen. It is rather interesting, the number of evangelical and fundamentalist Christian leaders who are like the flip side of a coin of the average feminist spokeswoman or man.
In this link, he talks about women as victims, men as victimizers. This is a common point of view, but is it Biblical? In the Bible, men and women are each victims and victimizers; just as Adam and Eve sinned together, so it continues. For example–a woman is taken in adultery and about to be stoned, is saved by Christ–and Joseph is falsely accused of rape, awaiting sentence of death. A concubine is raped to death, her body later cut to pieces by the Levite whose concubine she was and sent to each of the tribes he wants to follow him to war. One woman consents to have a baby cut in half while another wants it to live even at her own loss. The list goes on.
So why does he do this?
I think first of all that he has sincerely good intentions. He wants to help people have good Christian relationships. He perceives a real problem, that many people have no idea how to have a married relationship. And he has a straightforward formula for it: he teaches that women can learn to love themselves as God loves them, and that men can man up and be the men God intended for them to be.
I also think that he seems to fall into the trap of preaching that women are generally innocent–that they only sin because men make them. What does this remind all of us of? Patriarchy Theory, of course. Women would never do anything bad on their own–it’s because men are not responsible and are not looking after them. In Christianese, this goes something like this: “Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden because Adam wasn’t there for her as a husband should have been.” I’m not sure if he ever has actually said that, but listening to him talk, he might as well have.
So in this presentation, he shows the ultimate–a young woman has premarital sex with a young man, believes that she must marry him, and then finds that it is a terrible marriage. He is abusive, adulterous and cruel.
Now: let me say that I believe that Jesus was absolutely right to deal with the woman taken in adultery as he did. Let me emphasize that. But there is no question that the woman was taken in adultery–but those who are going to kill her are themselves sinners and hypocrites. So it would be fair to say “this poor young woman, what a pit she ended up walking into!” But my emphasis would be on the fact that she nevertheless made a bad choice. This doesn’t justify what happened later, by any means, but at no point does Driscoll simply say “women have agency, and they often use it to sin, just as men do.”