The popular and controversial book about sex and relationships penned by Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has one critic claiming there is a new craze for "sex talk" in the church, while the pastor's followers seem excited that Mars Hill manages to promote a biblical approach to sex among secular audiences.
Both the charismatic pastor known for his very quirky preaching style and his book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together, have been receiving increasing publicity, taking the debate about Christianity and sex outside of the church. Over 200 people commented on Driscoll's Facebook page after he and his wife, Grace, appeared on "The View" Wednesday to discuss their book. The couple also appeared on "Fox and Friends" Thursday morning, and Driscoll's interview with Piers Morgan airs tonight on CNN.
Real Marriage, a New York Times Best Seller, takes a look at topics that Christians are often afraid to ask their pastors, and that pastors are often afraid to address, as the book is advertised. The Driscolls expose some of their own "sins" in the book, and also address the roles of both men and women in marriage relationships and talk bluntly about topics relating to sexuality (such as sexual abuse, pornography and sexual activities that are permissible in a marriage).
Pastor Driscoll has been attracting critics for a while, even before Real Sex was published in January, for uttering controversial comments about sexuality, such as remarking that masturbation can be a form of homosexuality. Many pastors have criticized his teachings and book.
Conservative journalist and author David Kupelian, who is also managing editor of WorldNetDaily, published a column Tuesday in which he accuses Driscoll of inventing a "version of Christianity for people obsessed with sex."
"There's a new form of Christianity sweeping the U.S. Its main focus: sex," Kupelian writes, adding that he has nothing "personal against this popular, hip, tough-talking young pastor in blue jeans" and that he totally understands the appeal of his "blunt, masculine, passionate style – a refreshing respite from all the stuffy, pretentious and cowardly pastors out there." However, the journalist writes, Driscoll's "preoccupation" with talking sex goes too far.
Kupelian also did not spare Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Dallas, who also wrote a book considered by some to be a bit too open as far in describing the pastor's sexual marriage life.
"By the way, as runner-up for top mega-church pastor in 'The Church of Sex,' I'd nominate Ed Young, senior pastor of Dallas-based Fellowship Church, who recently staged 'a 24-hour bed-in with his wife atop his church,' a stunt designed to publicize his just-released New York Times best-seller, Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy With Your Spouse," Kupelian writes.
Despite the criticism, Real Marriage has been causing more and more mainstream media to feature Driscoll and his wife, which supporters say is a good thing. Wednesday's interview on "The View" kept Driscoll's fans on the edge of their seats, as the pastor discussed topics like sex outside of wedlock, his own marital problems, and whether or not oral sex and masturbation are "sinful," on the secular show hosted by Barbara Walters, Whoopie Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shephard, and Raven-Simone filling in for Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Although their statements were not well-recieved by some of the hosts, such as Behar, who criticized Driscoll for being against homosexuality, the Seattle couple were applauded for discussing a topic even considered taboo in the secular world while representing Christ.