As you probably know, Mark Driscoll is a leader within the so-called New Calvinism, which I pointed out in New Calvinism’s Mark Driscoll Encourages Contemplative Spiritual Disciplines, actually appears to be a postmodern form of Calvinism.

One that attempts to marry some Reformed theology with the corrupt Counter Reformation Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism ala Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin and Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard.

This apparently has moved the co-host of the upcoming Elephant Room II into the office of prophet as Mark Driscoll Has Personal Revelations From Jesus. Of course he’s not alone in evangelicalism claiming things like this.

 For example, God supposedly changed His mind about the Protestant Reformation and shared that with a well known high profile SBC Bible teacher Beth Moore: God’s Vision For The Church Includes The Roman Catholic Church “Denomination”.

Mark Driscoll also has released a new book that talks about…sex…I know, that’s such a surprise; he never talks about that. Well, apparently it’s really about marriage; or…sex. Seems it’s a bit difficult to tell. Apprising Ministries points you to a review of Driscoll’s latest book by Tim Challies, who’ll explain:

It must be intimidating to write a book on marriage. Store shelves are groaning under the weight of titles that claim to have the key to a happy marriage, or a biblical marriage or a gospel-centered marriage. To rise above such a crowded field a book needs to offer something different, something unique, something that distinguishes it from the pack. Mark and Grace Driscoll have jumped into the fray with their new book Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together…

 What quickly becomes clear is that Real Marriage suffers from a lack of clear identity, a problem that may stem from what appears to be rushed or otherwise ineffective editing. I point these things out not to be petty but because they effect the final product... the fact that half of the book focuses on marriage and the other half on sex leads to some confusion as to the nature of the book. Is it a book on marriage or a book on sex? How do these things relate to one another in such a way that they merit equal attention? Obviously marriage is not less than sex, but is the sexual relationship fully half of marriage? Why does it receive such emphasis?…

Real Marriage is divided into eleven chapters and three parts… Chapter 1 is biographical; the Driscolls share many of the challenges they have faced through their marriage and reveal that until very recently their marriage and their sexual relationship were sources of great difficulty…

A strange mis-step in this chapter [5] is Mark’s statement that he has asked Grace to be his “functional pastor,” Because he is a pastor and he does not have anyone to pastor him, he has asked Grace to fill that role. This must speak as much to his church’s leadership structure as to the Driscoll’s marriage; it is an unusual position and not one I would want others to emulate… Noticeably absent in this section is a firm and robust gospel grounding for marriage. Ephesians 5 is referenced only in passing; the marriage relationship as a mystery, a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church, is never clearly offered as the big picture or ultimate purpose of marriage. That gospel foundation is utterly, absolutely critical to an understanding of marriage and it is missing from Real Marriage. This is a tragic oversight. And I say “tragic” because the biblical understanding of marriage influences everything else—everything they discuss from chapter one to chapter eleven…


Just about 100 pages into the book, Part 2, “Sex,” begins. Chapter 6 is titled “Sex: God, Gross or Gift?” and teaches that sex is a good gift of God given for pleasure, procreation, oneness, knowledge, protection and comfort. Chapter 7, “Disgrace and Grace” looks at sexual abuse and shares Grace’s story of being a victim of such abuse. Chapter 8 turns to pornography, showing the danger it poses. Servanthood and selfishness in the sexual relationship is the subject of chapter 9. Sections on “Ways We Are Selfish Lovers” and “Reasons Why We Are Selfish Lovers” introduce good questions for discussion between a husband and wife, but somehow the chapter veers into an act-by-act exposition of Song of Solomon, ultimately encouraging a wife to be “visually generous” (i.e. strip) for her husband.

Chapter 10 is easily the most controversial chapter and the place that the Driscolls ask and answer the “Can We _______?” questions within the sexual relationship. They cover a long list of specific sexual acts and introduce a grid from 1 Corinthians 6:12. I have already discussed the shortcomings of this grid elsewhere and would encourage you not to use it in the way they teach. (Click here to find those articles) Here’s the thing: The greatest, most enduring, most ultimate purpose of marriage is that it is meant to draw our eyes and hearts and minds to what Christ has done. Thus when faced with the “Can We _______?” questions we do not go first to law and ask, “Does the Bible forbid this?” Instead we go straight to the gospel and ask, “Is this a reflection of Christ and his church? Does this come from a heart that has been radically altered by the gospel?” This gospel focus is missing from their evaluation…


I said from the outset that in order to distinguish itself in a crowded field, a book on marriage needs an angle, something unique. The Driscolls chose to make their angle vulnerability and answers to the toughest questions. What they haven’t done is laid a solid gospel foundation for marriage; they haven’t looked at these questions in the fullest context of gospel-centeredness and the rich biblical theology of marriage. This is near-fatal because it leads to a book that is not firmly rooted in what matters most.

Having read the book through two times, I’ve found myself wondering how to best measure or evaluate it, but perhaps these criteria are useful: Would I want to read it with my wife or would I encourage her to read it on her own? Would I recommend it to the people in my church? In both cases the answer is no. This is not to say that the book is entirely without merit; Real Marriage does have things to commend it. But in my assessment the negatives far outweigh the positives. Its disjointed nature, the way it is unhinged from the gospel, the way it evaluates sexual acts through an improper grid—in all these ways and more it inadvertently lowers marriage rather than elevates it. With so many good books on marriage available to us, I see no reason to recommend this one. (Online source)

You can read this review by Tim Challies in it’s entirety right here.

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