Not too long ago Mark Driscoll was in the news again. If you are not familiar with Driscoll, he is the mega-church pastor and popular author who was recently removed from ministry primarily over charges of abuse of power. Furthermore, the accusations frequently carried connotations of misogyny. He was also a leader in what I have called the “Christian Manhood” movement which I criticized in passing in the previous post.
Now, please don’t take this as a dog-pile the downed man post. I pray for Driscoll and you should to, whether you like him or not; his family underwent severe attack and needs our prayers. Still, I think we can learn from the trials of a public figure without degrading or attacking them.
So…what we need to learn from Driscoll is the importance of solid theology to everyday family life.
Basically Driscoll has Biblically validated the idea that the man must bring home the bacon and the woman should be in the home. He even went so far as to say that Paul’s admonition that the one who doesn’t provide for his own household is worse than an infidel applies to a stay at home dad.
This really seemed shallow to me–and seriously materialistic. What if I were the better teacher and my wife could get and wanted the better paying job? Under his definitions, it would be the more Christian thing to do to go teach other people’s kids and send my kids to school with other teachers. The idea that provision was anything other than working a job for money seemed foreign to him.
The issue is much deeper than simple stereotypes, though. It is actually the outcome of a serious doctrinal error. Somehow, as Driscoll and many others of his mindset seem to understand it, motherhood is more essentially connected to womanhood than is fatherhood to manhood.
How is that doctrinal? In reading his book Doctrine I found that he rejects the idea that Jesus is “eternally begotten of the Father” (which is the only reason I address this issue in relation to Driscoll). If it is the case that the church fathers who framed the Nicene Creed were overly philosophical and wrong to say Jesus was eternally begotten, if his begotten nature is only temporal–only rooted in his physical birth–as Driscoll argued in his book, then God is not essentially the Father. So, the image of God in man would have nothing to do with fatherhood.
However, the Creed is truth and the truth of the Creed is important to my everyday family life. As a man made in the image of God, it is part of my nature, as God made me, to be a Father. Provision for my family is not merely about making money. It is about truly husbanding and fathering. Everything I am supposed to be is rooted in everything that God is…and God is eternally Father.