Thursday, 25 February 2016

Mark Driscoll's Dalek Theology

Two years ago I wrote a post about the similarity between some christian leaders and Doctor Who's arch-nemesis, the Daleks! (Yes, I am an unashamed geek!)

It had occurred to me that the Dalek mantra of "obey or be exterminated" was little different from the 'christian' threat of "submit or be excommunicated" Of course, for those institutions that don't subscribe to the theology of excommunication, shunning is a viable alternative which produces the same effect.

(As one who had faced such a demand to submit or resign, I have decided that I'd rather face the Daleks - at least they were always honest about their desire for domination and didn't enslave others under a pretence of 'love'.)

Anyway, it was reading a post by Jory Micah today that reminded of my own earlier offering on the subject of submission, because it appears that Mr Driscoll has been preaching on this topic of late:
"Driscoll literally had boys 18 and under stand to their feet and he made a special emphasis on submission, especially to mothers. He states that submission leads to maturity. He tells them, you are supposed to “submit, honor, and obey” your parents.
Driscoll is psychologically training these boys in submission because he knows that someday, these boys will become men and that they will “need” to teach their wives to “submit, honor, and obey” them. The terrifying thing is that Driscoll uses Jesus’ name and the Bible to brainwash young minds." 
- "Mark Driscoll Back on Stage as a Dying Star" [Emphasis added]
Now apart from the fact that the commandment supposedly being referred to is simply "honour your parents", or that the bible calls for mutual submission between adults, the type of submission that is being peddled here does not lead to maturity, but actually has exactly the opposite effect.

It teaches people to become yes-men, to keep the peace at any cost, and to abandon their own God-given instincts. It will teach you to doubt yourself, to question your own thoughts and feelings, to assume your own understanding and perspective must be wrong.

I learned the truth of this the hard way and would love to help others see this toxic teaching for what it really is.

The whole submission and spiritual covering theology came from the shepherding movement of the 1970s. Not only was it eventually discredited, but some of the original leaders publicly repented of this teaching. Despite this, it keeps being regurgitated by other religious leaders - from John Bevere with his fixation on covering and authority, to Bill Gothard's umbrella of protection dogma. The trouble is that it's both manipulative and abusive.

Of course it does make life so much easier for those in power to keep control of those 'under' them, because it keeps those people immature and dependent on the leadership - unable to think or make decisions for themselves. It promises all sorts of favour and protection for those who comply, and it threatens all sorts of dire consequences for rebellion against "god's anointed". So just relax and submit. Remember, your leaders know best!

Just ask Rapunzel...


  1. Perfect video. I think she was the Woman's Ministry leader of my last church...

  2. Key phrases in this post

    "mutual submission"


    "those under them"

    An unfortunate side effect of the noble concept of mutual submission is that it leaves those who practice it open to abuse by those who don't. As soon as you see yourself as above someone else, or them below you, mutual submission has ceased.

    When Jesus warns gives a warning about wolves, it was a he was sending his disciples out into the world, but when Paul gives a similar warning in the book of Acts there is the recognition that the wolves will come in among them, and may even arise from their own ranks.

    The impulse to dominate rather than submit (one to another) is the impulse of the wolf. He will be a ruler, even a tyrant, if you let him, but the language of scripture uses words like shepherd, overseer, elder... none of which really convey this heroic visionary leader that the pastor role has in many cases morphed into.

    If you also extend these principles into our marriages, and they really think that they are teaching husbands to love their wives as Christ loves us... what must their image of Jesus look like.

    1. "...what must their image of Jesus look like."

      What a truly awful thought!

      Thanks for the insightful comment. Totally agree with you.