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Friday, April 24, 2009

Howlers - the driscolls on gender roles

If you were so unfortunate to have subjected yourself to the whole series on Song of Songs at Mars Hill last year it would have been easy to over look some really serious distortions of the New Testament because you were overwhelmed by the truly breath taking exegetical abuse of the Song of Songs.

I have it on very good authority that Grace Ann Driscoll is an intelligent and highly capable person who was on her way to a stellar career in the secular job market when she decided to say home and be a mom. So when I listened to the opening remarks in this clip from the Stay at Home Dads Q&A session, I was suffering some cognative dissonance when she made an allusion to 1Tim. 5:8 to support the Driscoll view on gender roles.

I spent the morning looking over the greek text of 1Tim 5:1-16. There are some really interesting problems in this passage, for example the identity of subject for manthanetwsan "learn" in 5:4 is not perfectly clear. The subject could be the widows or the members of the family. The way you read verse eight will be entirely dependent on how you solve this problem. I.H. Marshall (ICC) gives a thorough discussion of the issues. There are a number of other ambiguities in this text which require substantial linguistic and hermeneutical analysis to resolve.

One thing we can be absolutely certain about. This passage says nothing, zero, about stay at home dads or wives who go to work.

Grace Ann Driscoll is certainly smart enough to understand this. If she had sat down with her English bible and taken the time to read a chapter or so of the context it would have been very plain that the issue here is how to minister to widows in the early church. There is no mention of bread winners or housewives. The two groups involved are widows and family. The only gender roles in this passages are widows and the pressing question is what qualifies a woman to become an official widow in the church, supported by the church.

So I suspect that what goes on in these Q&A sessions after Mark Driscoll's sermon is a sort proof texting of the party line. We have an official MHC position on house husbands and we have our list of proof texts. No one dares to actually do any exegesis. That would be dangerous. You might come up with the wrong answer.


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Blogger Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

The application of 1 Tim 5.8 to husbands and wives and children derives from Mark Driscoll's sense of shame that Grace was the breadwinner while he was trying to establish his ministry at Mars Hill. There was no actual exegesis ever involved, just Mark's guilt overriding any sensible reading of the text. I don't begrudge him guilt that he let his wife be the breadwinner when he could have carried some of his own burdens, but it is bad to impose an eisegesis deriving from one's conscious as the primary application of a text that has nothing to do with his conscience except by personal history.

4:52 AM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Thanks for the comment, I have bookmarked your blog. I see you are from Seattle.

I have sort of moved on from the Driscoll thing. Life is too short to dance with mega church pastors. I am reading the David A. Blacks "The Jesus Paradigm" which KingCoLIb purchased at my request. D.A. Black is not happy with the situation in American Evangelicalism. It is kind of a dull read for me since most of what he is saying I agree with. The book will probably not be a best seller. It doesn't feed anybody's ego.

11:16 AM  

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