(Photo: MarsHill.com Press Room)
Megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll continues to push the envelope while preaching about the subject of sex during his current sermon series, which has the same theme as his book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.
This past weekend, the pastor of the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church was in the tenth week of his series. In addition to talking about why he feels it is important to bring up the topic of sex within a church setting, he addressed the issue of appropriate sexual behavior for married couples.
"Here's the big idea. The Bible is perfect, God-inspired, and true. It answers lots of questions. It doesn't answer every question," Driscoll said during his sermon. "The question then is if we have a question particularly about our marital intimacy and if it's not in the Bible where do we go for an answer?
"That's why we are trying to help on this issue of 'Can we blank?' That married couples have questions and sometimes the Bible does answer them. Sometimes the Bible does answer them in principle. Sometimes the Bible does not answer them in such a specific way so as to give you clarity.
"The issues that we are hitting are not uncommon. They are just uncommon in church … we are just trying to help people with the word of God and give them options to pornography, and culture, and base men's and women's magazines," he said.
Driscoll, whose wife, Grace, co-wrote the book, posted in his blog and church bulletin his answer to the question, included in the headline, "Why Do We Talk about Sex So Much in Real Marriage?"
"With the Real Marriage book and sermon series, there have been many questions asked about why Grace and I talk so much about sex. I thought some clarification would be helpful," he wrote.
"When writing the book, we originally suggested to our publisher and agent that we create two books, one on marriage and another on sex. In response, they said if we did break down the material into two books then we'd run the risk of separating sex from marriage. I believe this was wise counsel, and it's why Real Marriage is basically one book with two parts," he explains.
"So, after talking about the biblical foundation of and friendship in marriage in the first part, we address the topic of sex in detail, covering sexual sin, assault, and freedoms within marriage in the second."
Driscoll then lists and explains six reasons why he believes it is important. At the top of the list is that sex should be exclusive to marriage.
"Sex between a husband and wife is the consummating act of the marriage covenant according to the Bible, and this act distinguishes marriage from all other relationships, like racquetball partners," he states.
Also included in the list is the statement that the Bible does forbid certain things sexually, and many people are unaware of what is forbidden.
He writes, "Having been a pastor for 15 years, I can assure you lots of people who claim to be Christians are doing things that the Bible forbids – and they're not even aware of it. We can't assume anything on these issues, but rather need to speak to them biblically, plainly, and thoroughly."
The other reasons for the frank discussion about sex by Driscoll and his wife include the couple's desire that other married couples "think, talk, and pray about their intimacy with one another. The Driscolls also feel that public and private ministry should be the same.
"The kinds of topics we address are very common to counselors and pastors. Yes, their answers are usually given privately and not publicly, but the problem is that outside of the church the same questions are being answered publicly," Driscoll explained. "The next time you stand in a grocery store line, just read the headlines of men's and women's magazines and ask yourself, 'Should Christians not make biblical answers to sex as publicly accessible as these?'
"In the absence of public biblical responses, people are getting their answers to their questions, but they're often getting bad ones."
In answering the question of what couples "may do, not what they should do," Driscoll says, "We answer some specific questions in the book regarding what people may do. This is not a description of what we do, and it's not a prescription or even recommendation for what married couples should do.
"Rather, it's a look at the range of things that are permissible biblically, and we are encouraging married couples to discuss everything they might do and prayerfully agree on what they will do and will not do according to what they believe honors their conscience and most glorifies God," he concludes.
In addition to the sermon series, Driscoll and his wife have been touring the U.S., giving lectures and appearing with the media.
Their tour recently included an interview with "The View" where shortly after the segment began, Driscoll was asked by co-host Joy Behar why they oppose homosexuals having sex.
"In the book you say it's (sex) a gift and you really think people should be having a great … a lot of fun with sex, but not everybody … but homosexuals. What have you got against them having fun?" Behar asked the Seattle couple.
"Well, we are Bible-believing Christians," Driscoll responded. "We do hold to the teaching of Scripture and that is that sex is reserved for a married couple … a heterosexual married couple. So, even when we were dating and we were sexually active we were wrong. So, we don't want to say we are better or holier than anyone, but we were wrong as well and had to make some changes."