On Mark Driscoll’s Message
No, I haven’t gone and accepted Mixed Martial Arts Jesus as my Manly Man. No, I have not reverted back to Calvinism, either–never will happen.
Here’s what I think, okay, Mark Driscoll’s emphasis on being a “manly man” in control of the social order is his response to the men he sees in need of Christ in Seattle. It’s not a universal solution for all cities and states, I would argue. While I disagree with his approach to the issue, Driscoll is poignantly addressing an issue we don’t like to talk about– reaching out to men.
Scott recently informed us of a post criticizing Driscoll for his continuationism (that the gifts of the Spirit still happen today) by the Pyromaniacs, who should have just gone on and accused Pastor Mark of witchcraft. I mean, that is what soothsaying is, yes?
Marv, Scott’s blogging partner on To Be Continued defended the gift of discernment in Christian theology.
“Whether the particular instances Driscoll cites are genuine or not, the practices he is teaching about in this video, discernment of spirits, revelation from the Holy Spirit, confronting another regarding sin, have a high Scriptural pedigree, the kind of actions engaged in by Christ and the apostles. Johnson’s charge is thus slanderous at best and perhaps even blaspemous.”
On Ezekiel’s Message
While Scott and Marv took up New Testament precedent for Driscoll, I would just like to look at one similar example in Ezekiel 16 & 23. Driscoll did use highly sexualized imagery in his lesson on spiritual warfare, but it is not to glorify sin, but to make us disgusted in it. The difference is key here. In Ezekiel 16 and 23 (I know, I know, I made it a talking point this year: I know you believe this, but have you read the book of Ezekiel, lately?) But I think Driscoll’s story is more than relevant in this case.
Katherine Pfisterer Darr notes in her commentaries that Ezekiel 16 and 23 give us disturbing images of God as well as the gory objectification of women in the priest/prophet’s allegories. Darr points out that Ezekiel’s view of the abominations that Israel has committed is skewered that he describes what he saw in unspeakable and raunchy term; Samaria and Jerusalem’s idolatry is compared to the most shameful form of adultery. The text, in Ezekiel 16:7, wants the audience to imagine Israel as a young woman in the nude and YHWH’s justification for his revenge for her unfaithfulness is “like mother, like daughter.” Likewise, Ezekiel 23 has just as gruesome depictions of the sexuality and humanity of women while it goes unexplained why YHWH is not able to control the behavior of his women.
Mary Shields, like Darr, takes issue with Ezekiel’s female imagery within the allegories found in Ezekiel 16 and 23. So much so, that Shield questions whether this text can function as God’s word. God’s character is questionable from the beginning in Shields’ view. The word used in Song of Solomon for erotic love is the same term used in Ezekiel 16:8. The woman’s blood and nudity become the primary euphemisms for Israel’s shame. Women are defined by male-constructed categories in Ezekiel’s world and the text makes it even that more obvious. The faithless wife can only find her identity in either her loving husband or her foreign male lovers. The two sisters, Oholibah and Oholah in Ezekiel 23, are not treated any better than the woman described in Ezekiel 16. Rape is used a both a military strategy and a punishment for adultery in Ezekiel’s historical setting; what is odd about Ezekiel 23 is that YHWH allows for Oholah and Oholibah’s lovers to violate them as the method for reinforcing YHWH’s ultimate control over Jerusalem and Samaria. The complex paradigms of sexuality and political power play a large role in Ezekiel’s foreign policy and his view of Jerusalem and Samaria.
What we must remember is that for the priest-prophet Ezekiel, honor/shame as well as ritual holiness/ritual impurity remain legit theological categories when discussing notions of sin. That is why the Temple of YHWH imagery remains so vital throughout the book of Ezekiel. In our culture, if I may take Cessationists as an example, sin is simply breaking the law. This is a very different notion of what sin is than from how a priest would see it. Reasonably, this would lead to two very different approaches of confronting sin. In the first instance, where sin is breaking the law, remaining faithful to the rules as well as knowing the rules are of utmost importance. However, in the priestly view of dealing with sin, describing gross images (perhaps like a documentary on economic injustice or corporate greed may be another example outside of sexual sins) to make persons conscience of their own errors. While I believe that Scripture affirms both approaches, I prefer the holiness viewpoint as a continuationist. There is a freedom by the power of the Holy Spirit in that approach, because I would say continuationists who have this priestly view of the world are trusting God to change people, and not simply our rules, or interpretations or applications thereof.
For more see:
Katheryn Pfisterer Darr. “The Book of Ezekiel: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.” in The New Interpreter’s Bible. Volume VI. Editted by David L. Petersen. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999.
Mary E. Shields. “Multiple Exposures: Body Rhetoric and Gender Characterization in Ezekiel 16.” the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion volume 14, no. 1, Spring, 1998.