Driscoll's "Real Marriage" Audiobook Review

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by jason d, Jan 3, 2012.

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  1. jason d

    jason d Puritan Board Freshman

    <p><img align="right" height="435" src="http://lghttp.12749.nexcesscdn.net/80612D/magento/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/9/7/9781610453349.jpg" width="363" />There are plenty of solid, more&nbsp;thorough&nbsp;reviews of this book, so let me start with talking about the audiobook quality itself and then I will get to a review of the content itself.</p>
    <p>ChristianAudio.com gave me the opportunity to review the <a href="http://christianaudio.com/real-marriage-mark-driscoll-grace-driscoll">"Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together" by Mark &amp; Grace Driscoll audiobook</a> with no obligations to write positively. I listen to several audiobooks a month and I, 99% of the time, enjoy the audio quality and voices of those who read the books on ChristianAudio.com. I have even heard past audiobooks by Mark Driscoll and enjoy them (audio wise) because the author himself reads the book, and this is always a plus to me.</p>
    <p>This audiobook has a male that read the portions of the book by Mark Driscoll (<a href="http://christianaudio.com/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?narrator=William+Dufris+and+Tavia+Gilbert">William Dufris</a>) and another for the&nbsp;portions&nbsp;of the book by Grace Driscoll (<a href="http://christianaudio.com/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?narrator=William+Dufris+and+Tavia+Gilbert">Tavia Gilbert</a>), I liked that. However, the male's voice is so wacky and silly sounding that it is hard to take it seriously at times. I even found myself laughing out loud at how he&nbsp;emphasized&nbsp;certain parts of words in such strange ways. The women's voice was nice and easy to listen to, something that I have come to expect from audiobooks (especially if they expect one to pay $12.98 for it!)</p>
    <p><strong>The book itself:</strong></p>
    <p>There are high points of the book. It has an excellent&nbsp;explanations&nbsp;of:</p>
    <li>practical&nbsp;complementarianism (what godly male headship and womenly submission look like)</li>
    <li>being a friend to our spouses</li>
    <li>dealing with conflict in marriage</li>
    <li>the need for&nbsp;repentance and grace&nbsp;in marriage</li>
    <li>help for those who have been sexually abused</li>
    <li>dealing with one's&nbsp;p0rnography&nbsp;past (or present)</li>
    <p>All of these where good, but the only one that I have never read in another book (or heard on a sermon dealing with marriage) was the chapter on friendship. Besides that the only thing that sets this book apart is how the Driscoll's deal with the controversial question posed as chapter 10, "Can we ____?" (the blank they fill in with a plethora of different sexual acts.)</p>
    <p>In short, I only made it through 20 minutes of this controversial 64 minute chapter. I honestly felt dirty listening to this part. I found it absurd how explicit this portion of the book was getting and had to, for conscience sake and to not defile myself, skip to the next chapter.</p>
    <p>In short, the high points of the book do not make it worth getting this book for the bad stuff in the book. As has been well noted, Driscoll continues to use the Song of Solomon as a sex manual, and his framework for what is allowed in the marriage bed is based off poor exegesis (this has been well documented throughout the years, <a href="http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2011/12/no-sex-please-im-british.php">see here</a> and <a href="http://media.sermonaudio.com/mediapdf/417091244255.pdf">here</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.dennyburk.com/my-review-of-mark-driscolls-real-marriage/">here</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/real-marriage-can-we">here</a> for some examples.)</p>
    <p>As has been pointed out by some it really overlooks the foundation of marriage (Christ and the church) and has about 10x more statistics than it does Scripture (even though some of that Scripture is twisted, I would contend.)</p>
    <p>Though the book has SOME great practical advice, there is nothing new (besides that 10th chapter and chapter on friendship.), and sadly this book is #1 on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles already (and it just came out today.) As a brother in Christ I urge you in no way to support this book. If the good stuff from above sounds helpful to you then let me suggest alternative books for the issues above (some even recommended by this book itself):</p>
    <li>practical&nbsp;complementarianism (<a href="http://www.cbmw.org/index.php">check out complementarian resources from the Centern for Biblical Manhood &amp; Womenhood.</a>)</li>
    <li>Being a friend to our spouses (not sure where to go to find some good resources on this.)</li>
    <li>Dealing with conflict in marriage (<a href="http://www.cbmw.org/index.php">The Peacemaker</a> or <a href="everyday+">Resolving Everyday Conflict</a> both by Ken Sande)</li>
    <li>the need for&nbsp;repentance and grace&nbsp;in marriage (same two books as above)</li>
    <li>help for those who have been sexually abused (<a href="http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=Rid+of+My+Disgrace&amp;go=&amp;form=QBRE&amp;aq=Rid+of+My+Disgrace&amp;aid=&amp;ct=&amp;qs=n&amp;pq=Rid+of+My+Disgrace&amp;sp=&amp;rt=Completions&amp;tk=&amp;spv=&amp;sl=E&amp;sc=&amp;st=&amp;ast=BB">Rid of My Disgrace)</a></li>
    <li>dealing with one's&nbsp;p0rnography&nbsp;past (or present) (<a href="http://www.bing.com/shopping/sexual-detoxa-guide-for-guys-who-are-sick-of-p0rn/p/AF0200000DD1B5555009?q=sexual+detox+by+tim+challies&amp;lpf=0&amp;lpq=sexual%2bdetox%2bby%2btim%2bchallies&amp;FORM=EGCA&amp;lppc=16">Sexual Detox</a> by Tim Challies)</li>
    <p>As for dealing with the foundations of marriage I would recommend John Piper's <a href="http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=john+piper+this+momentary+marriage&amp;go=&amp;form=QBRE&amp;aq=john+piper+this+momentary+marriage&amp;aid=&amp;ct=&amp;qs=n&amp;pq=john+piper+this+momentary+marriage&amp;sp=&amp;rt=Completions&amp;tk=&amp;spv=&amp;sl=E&amp;sc=&amp;st=&amp;ast=B">"This Momentary Marriage"</a>.</p>
  2. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    I posted this after reading another review of Mark Driscoll's book.
  3. FedByRavens

    FedByRavens Puritan Board Freshman

    I can't figure Driscoll out. He has his soteriology spotless, yet has no shame in what he says. That concerns me, it really does. All i know is that when the Lord saved me, course inappropriate speech shamed and convicted me. It doesn't seem to have that affect on him. The first thing I ever heard about the guy was how filthy he spoke, and almost exclusively every time he is spoken of i hear the same report.
  4. jason d

    jason d Puritan Board Freshman

    Ya, in my estimation it is best to just stay away from his stuff. And btw, he doesn't have "his soteriology spotless", he denies limited atonement and holds to and teaches "unlimited limited atonement".
  5. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    He does teach "unlimited limited atonement." I always pass on his stuff.
  6. Jeff Burns

    Jeff Burns Puritan Board Freshman

    Not wanting to turn this into a "lets flame Driscoll" thread, but I can honestly say it was his coarse sexual talk during his SoS series that was the last straw for me. I had previously tried to support him, or maybe rationalize listening to him, and had benefited from much of his material. But when he began teaching through SoS I had to instruct my wife to no longer listen. Then after a few weeks I too had to stop listening and we both determined that it was no longer profitable to devote any time to his teaching/ministry. So sad. He has great influence and potential, but his obssesion with sex ruins it all.
  7. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    That doesn't make sense.

    Check that: it sounds like the Lutheran understanding of predestination.
  8. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    I assume you mean by this that you always "take a pass" on his stuff, rather than "pass it on to others"...
  9. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    Just so it is not a completely negative Mark Driscoll thread again:

    Are there some things that I disagree with Mark on or wish that he would change? Certainly. But this man preaches the Gospel clearly to a group of people that presbyterians and baptists couldn't (or don't even try to), even if their life depended on it. He has also shown a willingness to be disciplined and corrected by those who not only just rebuke him, but also encourage him and come alongside him so that he can grow up in Christ and his ministry can grow up in Christ.
  10. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I agree that his material is too explicit for public worship services. It is unfortunate that his worship services are unfit for children.

    But I absolutely refuse to condemn him for talking about these subjects as a matter of principle. I realize I don't pastor church people. But I've nonetheless counseled Christians by the scores who have specifically told me they don't feel comfortable talking to their pastor about their sexuality issues. Yet they have very real issues, very real questions, very real concerns. And whenever I've had the discussions, the issues/concerns/questions - because they're real - are fairly explicit. If I'm going to really help them I need to have a degree of comfort with the explicit. One chaplain refused to even use the word "sex," he'd instead say "the act of marriage." He was seen as so utterly out of touch that he was completely by-passed for these types of matters.

    Remember that these discussions are in closed-door counseling sessions, not out in the public. But I'll concede that a minister presents himself in such a way that either invites or discourages folks from approaching him about life's most intimate matters. (This is why I've been sought out by individuals in other units who have their own chaplain and why many who attend churches nonetheless have come to me for these issues.)

    I have no problem with Driscoll publishing this stuff in a book - where you have to willfully and intentionally seek it out.

    The chapter on being a friend sounds like a gem and itself worth the price of the book. If for no other reason than that chapter I think I'll check it out.
  11. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    I don't think he has an "obsession with sex". Rather, I think he's addressing a culture that is obsessed with sex.

    It needs to be talked about, boldly and explicitly, and as Ben explained a book is a good forum for doing so.
  12. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    I agree with where I perceive Ben and Daniel to be coming from. We need frank talk (in the proper time and place) about sexuality. Christians need scriptural guidance and not to have all such talk relegated to the street, locker room, or internet. Society has always been sex-obsessed: people now are more willing openly to talk about it, which has both its healthy and unhealthy aspects (much talk about sexuality is simply salacious).

    But here's the problem from the reviews that I've read, particularly the very helpful one by Denny Burk. It does not appear that opposition to this book is merely prudish, readers wincing at what they take to be too explicit language or description. No, it's significantly more than that: Burk details what chapter 10 contains, and, if he is correct, there's stuff here about which Pastor Driscoll is wrong and that is not biblically defensible.

    I do not think that I can say more, not only because I am sensitive to what I am saying on this site, but also because I have not read the book. Given the range of practices that MD has found permissible, I question whether he has a biblical theology of sexuality. I have the book on order and will seek to do it justice, but I am deeply disturbed what has been reported from chapter 10, not on the grounds of it being inappropriate, too explicit, or anything of that sort, but on the grounds of there being things countenanced in that chapter that are fundamentally wrong. More upon a careful read of the book.

  13. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor

    The major problem people seem to have with him is not so much that he talks about these practices in terms of questions he's received. On that point a frank Q&A in a book actually willing to address those issues is arguably necessary in a p-rnified culture and society. Where I'm concerned is that I've gathered it says that countless things are ok that at least arguably only developed around the perverted, p-rnographic, and grossly immoral sectors of society.

    To those who have read the book, in the sex chapter, does he at all urge the reader wondering about whether practice X or Y is ok to ask WHY he or she wants to do that or have that done? I am not married, have never had sexual activity with anyone in person, but struggled with a nasty p-rn addiction for many years that I've only recently (last year) stopped and controlled by His mercy and grace and the help and prayers of His people and my church. Therefore, reading as blunt and graphic a chapter as this one seems to be would likely stir up sin in my heart at this point in my life and I'm not going to read it for that reason, so I'll have to rely on others to do so.

    While I was persisting in that sin and even for awhile after I stopped, my thoughts had gone in dark and twisted directions based on what I'd seen (and frankly it was tame compared to what could have been). I bring that up because from the reviews, I've gathered that the hermeneutic used is effectively indistinguishable from "if it doesn't hurt someone (or it hurts but they're ok with it), then it's ok." That would essentially leave only spousal rape off the table, and everything else available to do, without asking whether the partner asking for it has had desires warped by p-rn or whether the concerned recipient is pressured into something and gives out of a warped sense of generosity. And even if all of these mentioned practices are lawful (which I highly question), it seems to border on irresponsibility to do a "this is ok" and "this is not ok" apart without heavy questions about why do you want to do this with your husband or wife?

    The big problem I would have with Driscoll's approach would seem to be not that he's willing to hear really difficult questions, but that he's willing to extend Christian sexual liberty to exactly the world's limits, but only with your heterosexual spouse. That would seem to ignore that way in which p-rn alters and affects even loving spouses' desires down roads they should not go.

    If Tim Challies review (mainly) and a few others are not fair reviews of the section, then I'll gladly rewrite the post.
  14. Jeff Burns

    Jeff Burns Puritan Board Freshman

    I would simply have to disagree. See Phil Johnson's treatment of another sex-charged scandal here.

    As one pastor friend of mine said, "What concerns me the most about MD is that it seems that nearly every controversy he's ever gone on the "discernment radar" for has been on the topic of sex or for lowbrow suggestive comments/humor/eisegetical sermons related to sex and this video [referring to Phil's post] is another piece of evidence that further bolsters that problem. In the past, some of his sermons I have listened to have been virtually pornographic in nature."

    Adding some more foder for thought, Carl Trueman recently posted a great piece on Eph 5:12.
  15. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Scott (from Faith OP, Dallas):

    I have more concerns than you cite with MD's work, but I certainly have those concerns. I understand in the book that he, properly, speaks out against prurient sexual materials, as he always has, but in chapter 10 seems to permit some of the very practices that would spring from such materials.

    To justify deviant sexual practices that come out of dark corners, patricularly from the kind of material to which you refer, Scott, on the grounds that you have two consenting married heterosexuals is to be fundamentally confused about sex: its place, its purpose, its meaning. Again, I need to see for myself what he says before, after, and in Chapter 10. I need to see whether he develops, expresses, or even has (implicitly) a clear Christian doctrine of sexuality, which his view on permissible practices at least throws into question for me.

  16. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Here is a review of the book from a female Christian blogger, who is of a rather different theological persuasion than us, but who I believe raises a number of valid points concerning the work. Since we're talking about a book about sex, a feminine perspective is helpful: Rachel Held Evans | Driscoll,
  17. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy


    Thanks for mentioned Denny Burk's review. I read the review. I am in agreement (with him and you) that some of the specific kinds of activities he prescribes are abhorrent for a number of reasons. I appreciate that you realize I wrote what I wrote above without having read the particulars of what was in the book and was instead simply encouraging "frank talk" in an appropriate context.
  18. Jeff Burns

    Jeff Burns Puritan Board Freshman

    Couple of days old now, but Driscoll was interviewed by CNN. His response about negative feedback to the book is very telling of his unwillingness to be corrected. What a mess.

  19. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    This is excellent Scott and I agree it's a serious issue.
  20. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe he is unwilling to be corrected by guys who will only "correct" him while sitting behind their keyboards. If it is our place to know, let's see how he handles the criticism by guys like John Piper or Doug Wilson, who are actually a "part" of his life.
  21. Goodcheer68

    Goodcheer68 Puritan Board Freshman

    I understand that this is true of many people, but a blanket statement like this is offensive. I also believe the Gospel transcends "people groups".
  22. JStone

    JStone Puritan Board Freshman

    I know a lot of traditional presbyterians and baptists who labor in open air ministry, preaching the gospel to young hipsters, and see fruit and true conversion, and in turn bring them to their churches.

    My point is not intended to take away from Driscoll's ministry (I have my own views on that), but rather to defend the hard labor of many faithful presbyterian/baptist open air workers.

  23. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    "Take a pass" would be correct. I would not pass on explicit materials or those I consider to be in error to others.

    ---------- Post added at 11:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:34 AM ----------

    It gives me a headache trying to differentiate it from Arminianism. But here are some discussions, one with sermon links:


    What Is Mark Driscoll's View of Atonement? | The A-Team Blog

    Book Review - Death by Love | Challies Dot Com
  24. crimsonleaf

    crimsonleaf Puritan Board Freshman

    I think Driscoll reaches an audience which more traditional preachers sometimes overshoot. His delivery is unsubtle, but often his audience is too.

    For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
    (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV)
  25. Jeff Burns

    Jeff Burns Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe he is unwilling to be corrected by what he calls "the pajama hajdin." But to say that he hasn't read any of the reviews must include Denny Burk's, Tim Challies', and Doug Wilson's, who have all reviewed his book. These men are, by their national notariety, his peers. The refusal to be corrected by a Christian brother is not praiseworthy.
  26. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    I was not saying that there was any on this board that denied that the Gospel transcends all people groups, including the "Portland" or "Seattle" hipster, but if we look at our churches, what do we find? Can we all point to those one or two people who are laboring to see this group of people saved? Certainly! I wasn't attempting to deny this. Again though, what do we see when we look at our churches? I doubt we will find much in the way of this people group. We can blame them all we want (and I am not pointing the finger at you, saying that you are), but at some point, myself included for sure, we as reformed folk need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves why aren't we reaching (out to) this group?

    ---------- Post added at 11:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:46 PM ----------

    How often, when we are rebuked, immediately without fight or hesitation, repent? Probably not often, and yet we expect this out of Mark Driscoll ( I guess at least I expect it out of everyone else, yet I do a poor job of repenting without fighting). I am not saying that Mark Driscoll does not need to be rebuked for the things that he has said and/or the things that he has written in this book. If he does, then so be it. If he doesn't, then so be it.

    I guess what I am growing tired and sick of in regards to Mark Driscoll and this board, is the constant need for folks on this board to speak only negatively of Mark Driscoll. This man is a brother in Christ, and whether he has excelled in this or not, his chief desire seems to be to glorify God, build up the church, and see lost souls converted. Yet all we seem to be able to do on this board is be negative towards him. And if someone does start a thread speaking something commendable about Driscoll, people feel the need to come up and make sure that person knows of Driscoll's shortcomings. I guess I can understand his unwillingness to be rebuked by those on the internet when the majority of it seems to be negative.
  27. crimsonleaf

    crimsonleaf Puritan Board Freshman

    Brian I have to step back a little because as a new boy on the board I obviously am not qualified to judge the frequency of put-downs, nor judge those making them. However, judging Driscoll on the basis of his failure to take correction is harsh. Like his critics no doubt, he's worked for the last 15 years at the coal-face and with some of the less salubrious members of his local population. As such he's encountered the issues he discusses and I guess his delivery style is one which reaches his chosen audience most effectively.

    The correction problem is interesting though. Should Driscoll or anyone else automatically back down from a strongly held belief just because it doesn't meet with universal approval?

    I'm not a Driscoll fanboy as such, but I have found him informative and entertaining (is that a sin?), as well as clearly being a massively effective evangelist. Certainly he's rough around the edges, but sometimes controversial things need to be said in order to jolt some into paying attention.
  28. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    As this post sums up nicely,it is disturbing how you engage in sweeping condemnation of others while bemoaning what you perceive to be the same issue in others. I typically stay out of these discussions because of the party spirit that typically ensues.

    The board has many individuals. Others might note that every time a thread about Driscoll is started that is critical of public statements there are always going to be those who criticize those who criticize Driscoll. Party spirit excess is a violation of the 9th Commandment regardless of which side of an extreme one falls upon.
  29. Worddoer

    Worddoer Puritan Board Freshman

    Here is what I wonder about your comment. To be sure, many, many people make the same observation, not just about MD, but all sorts of styles and teachers these days. I find this fact to be unacceptable and quite frankly, very disturbing. What does it say about "me" that I am so arrogant or demanding that only certain styles are allowed through my filter. In other words, I will listen to Driscoll, but never MacArthur. If my heart is truly regenerate, and sanctification is at work in me, why is it that humility does not find me admitting that my views on teaching styles are immature or down-right ungodly. Do we as believers not fall in love with the truth, regardless of who presents it? Does not Scripture explicity obligate young men to submit to their elders? This seems entirely absent from men like MD. They seem to think they can break away and invent their own style along with some of their own teachings. But this attitude has never been endorsed by the Church. Scripture condemns such attitudes.
  30. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Congratulations on your first post to PB; please fix your signature per the instructions at the link in mine below. Thanks; and belated welcome.
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