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Mars Hill Tackles Sex, Rape, Birth Control the Biblical Way

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By Lillian Kwon, Christian Post Reporter
January 14, 2008|9:25 am

"Do you believe that abortion as a result of rape is wrong?" one worship service attendant at Mars Hill Church in Seattle posed to the pastor.

It's one of many controversial and long-debated questions being asked at the growing church that draws a large twenty-something crowd every week. Pastor Mark Driscoll has opened up the pulpit to a daring "Ask Anything" session, giving unscripted answers to questions not typically addressed in the church.

And the content being addressed over the course of nine weeks has been divided into two categories: offensive and really offensive.

Questions are being asked only during the Sunday evening service - the last of five services at Mars Hill when no children and virtually no families are present and attendance is mainly made up of singles, young adults and non-Christians.

Part of an experiment launched on Jan. 6, "Ask Anything" allows worship attendants to text message any questions they have for the pastor - during the course of the live preaching - on the subjects of the sermon. Those questions are then answered on the spot following Driscoll's preaching. There's no forewarning or preparation. If the experiment "serves us well," the question and answer session may be expanded to all services.

Regarding the question of whether abortion as a result of rape is wrong, Driscoll answered, "Yes."

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"And I say this as a man who knows that roughly one third of the women in the church have been raped or sexually abused. I tell you this as a man who has counseled a long list of rape victims," Driscoll continued.

While acknowledging the ethical dilemma the raped woman has on her hands, Driscoll said, "But as a general rule, I would say a life is a life and though the woman is a victim, let's not make the child a victim as well."

The result of one woman's pregnancy caused by rape - a Mars Hill Church pastor, he said.

"So what I would say is, it is horrible, but God is good," he said to a silent crowd. "And I tend to err on the side of giving Him the opportunity to use what was intended for evil and to use it for good and the saving of many lives."

Driscoll, a prominent emerging church pastor whose theology is conservative, encouraged any woman facing this dilemma to seek prayer, comfort and counsel from him that very night.

The question followed a sermon on sex, birth control and abortion. It was the first in Mars Hill's "Religion Saves and 9 Other Misconceptions" sermon series. The series is a response to nine top questions Mars Hill attendants voted for to be preached on this year. Question No. 9 is: “There’s no doubt the Bible says children are a blessing, but the Bible doesn’t seem to address the specific topic of birth control. Is this a black and white topic, or does it fall under liberties?”

After listing Bible verses to explain the biblical teaching on creation, sexuality and children, Driscoll denounced legalistic and judgmental views from Christians who say anything that hinders procreation is demonic. God didn't create sex only for procreation but also for pleasure, comfort and protection within marriage, he stressed.

No birth control, natural birth control such as the calendar-rhythm method, and non-abortive birth control such as condoms are "fine for Christians," said Driscoll to a curious crowd while making it clear that sex should only occur within marriage.

However, he expressed opposition to the use of "the pill" and abortion. While research has been ongoing on whether or not the birth control pill is abortive, no conclusion has been found and Christians remain divided on the issue.

Driscoll did not go as far as calling the use of the pill "a sin," but said it is "a little more risky and a little less clear."

Abortion, however, "is a sin," he said plainly, speaking of abortion in its majority sense and not for minority cases such as a mother's life at stake.

A former pro-choice advocate, Driscoll advised the worship attendants not to argue with him on the issue but to turn to Jesus.

"I was pro-abortion," he said, "and then I met Jesus."

In the latest of his "Misconception" sermon series, Driscoll addressed question No. 8: "Why do you make jokes about Mormon missionaries, homosexuals, trenchcoats wearers, single men, vegans, emo kids and then expect these groups to come to know God in the same sermon?"

His third sermon on Jan. 20 will address: "Why does an all loving, all knowing, and all sovereign God will into creation people He foreknows will suffer eternal condemnation? Why does Romans 9:20 feel like a cop-out answer?"

Driscoll's sermons are broadcasted live to thousands at five other Mars Hill Church campuses.

 

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