Over the 10 week series, The Peasant Princess, Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace took questions from the audience. This is a compilation of the best questions and answers during that time.
You’re listening to the Peasant Princess Sermon Series, where Pastor Mark Driscoll takes us through the poetic book Song of Songs. For more audio and video content, please visit marshillchurch.org.
Howdy, Pastor Mark Driscoll here, from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. We just finished the Peasant Princess Series on the Song of Songs. I had a great time and my sweet wife, Grace, joined me on stage answering about 200 text-messaged questions over the course of the series. The online response has been amazing and I want to thank all of you who tune in online and help get the word out. This week, we thought it would be fun to take some of the most provocative, interesting, heart breaking questions, compile them into sort of a greatest hits, and so this week you get to listen to me and my lovely wife, Grace.
Ballard: What are thoughts on stay-at-home dads?
We did this in the last one.
Ballard: What are thoughts on stay-at-home dads if the woman really wants to work or even if both want or need to work?
This is where our attendance goes down. You all came to hear this, “Oh, have sex,” and this is the part that people don’t like. You want to go first? You want to soften them up?
Grace: Oh, yeah.
How about you take it from the woman’s perspective?
Grace: Well, I would say it’s hard to respect a man that’s not willing to provide. Biblically, in Timothy, you’re worse than an unbeliever if you don’t provide for the needs of your family. It’s a pretty strong statement. Basically, we need to follow what the word says and if it’s willing to address the issue, you need to take it seriously. We talked about this earlier and just how different our kids would look if he was at home with the kids, versus me.
That’s a very sweet way to say it.
Grace: It’s just a good idea for me to be with them, but –
I agree – I agree – I agree.
Grace: No, it – you have to spend time with them, but it’s – we’re built, as women were built to be home with our kids. And the Titus 2 Women, we’re supposed to be loving our husband and children, busy at home, homeward focused, pure, kind, self-controlled, so that we don’t malign the word of God. That’s a pretty big statement, too. It’s an honor to be a mom and raise the next generation. It’s a huge responsibility and to just toss that aside like it’s – you know, can be done by anyone, it’s a – I would say it’s a selfish view. Our children need us, as mothers. We are the ones that tend to their needs and can see every little thing that they need, emotionally, physically; we’re built to be able to recognize those things. So, it’s great if a dad – a dad absolutely has to be part of the equation, it’s the best ideal scenario, but a mom is built to be at home with her kids.
Yeah. Guys, meditate on this verse. Paul tells Timothy in the New Testament, “If any man does not provide for the needs of his family, he’s denied the faith and he’s worse than an unbeliever.” And you say, “Well, that’s cultural,” no, that’s in the Bible. You live in an absolutely perverted, corrupted, stupid culture. It’s a culture of hook-up, shack-up, break-up. It’s a culture in which men act like Peter Pan, and they’re boys way too long. A lot of guys think they’re men that they – just because they can shave – I always say there’s a lot of boys who can shave. If you cannot provide for your family, you’re not a man. Now, maybe you get injured, you get sick, you get cancer, totally understood. We’re not legalists. But if you’re an able-bodied man, you’re job is to provide for the needs of your family. Your job before God; active worship, responsibility is to provide for your family. Does that mean you need a huge home and a new car? No.
It may mean that you need live a simple standard of living. It may mean that you don’t have to give into the world system of values that your status is determined by the vehicle that you drive. Your dignity, and value, and worth as a human being is contingent upon your zip code. But, too many guys take too little responsibility. This would actually be, at Mars Hill Church, if there were not extreme extenuating circumstances, a case for church discipline, okay. You need to know that, okay. Many of you will now leave, and I would say without any biblical grounds. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world; be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that’s what Paul says.
Statistically, if you want to have healthy kids, enduring marriage, it’s not just that you do it in a 1950s traditional way. But the Scriptures say the man lovingly leads a family, provides and protects. The woman helps him, is his mate right alongside, equal image bearer of God. They’re different with different roles and tasks. That she is primarily responsible for the homeward orientation, and he provides and protects for his family. If a woman is to respect her husband, he needs to be like that. And if they want to safeguard their marriage from divorce, they need to organize their home like that. And statistically, if they want to do best for their children, they’ll organize their home like that. There are occasionally rare extenuating circumstances. We’re not legalists. We consider those. To be honest with you, if you want to have a good marriage, a good family that honors God, you need to establish your home according to biblical principles, and there is nothing in Scripture – there is nothing – I’ve read the whole Book. You could debate with me all day. It’s not there.
You have to go to the culture and find worldly wisdom, and then try and sanctify it, but it’s just not in the Scriptures. And I would say as well, we’ve got five kids; do you know how much we would need to make for daycare? Do you know how different my children would be if Gracie wasn’t willing to be their mom and be home with them? I can’t even fathom two-year-old Gideon in his flip-flops walking away five days a week, for nine or ten hours, to have someone else raise him. Could not – my wife’s crying even thinking about it. So, thank you. Thank you, Sweetie-pie.
Grace: I love it.
Question: My boyfriend went to Vegas for a bachelor party – never a good idea. He went to a strip club. Do I have a right to be mad?
I would say you have an obligation to be mad. I will say something I shouldn’t, so you can talk for a minute, and then I’ll jump in.
Grace: Yes, that would be righteous anger. How you handle yourself out of that righteous anger is the question. If he doesn’t see it as wrong, obviously, that puts you in a more difficult situation. And you may need to – if he’s a believer and you’re a believer – you may need to bring someone in and see if there’s some habits there, that if he doesn’t have a problem with going and doing this, that maybe there’s some deeper issues there that he’s – that are coming out through this, and you have an opportunity to deal with or not be his girlfriend anymore. And many things can come out of this, but it looks like something’s been brought up that needs to be dealt with and you may need another pastor or someone to come in. And if he’s not willing to address it –
And I would say – it’s a boyfriend? The meeting with the pastor is not the two of you going in as a couple. He’s a big boy; let him figure it out. You go in to meet with a pastor to tell the rest of the story and get counsel regarding you. You no longer start dealing with this as a couple, because you may not be a couple. My encouragement would be I don’t think you should be a couple, all right. If a guy is a one-woman man, fully devoted to his wife, he will fight to honor and cherish her and be devoted and pure with her. Going to Vegas, you know why you’re going to Vegas – for a bachelor party. It’s like, “Well, you know, because they have Gideon’s Bibles in the hotel and we wanted to read them.” I mean – you know, it’s not – that’s not why anybody gets on a plane and goes to Vegas.
I was just dealing with a pastor who’s in Vegas – I’ll tell you this, too. For you dudes, what percentage of prostitutes were molested as children, statistically. Ninety percent, all right. Rape and molestation, one survivor says, is boot camp for prostitution; the numbers are similar for dancers. You know, if you go to a party, guys, and you say, “This is exciting,” what you need to put on is the mind of Christ and say, “I wonder if it was her uncle or her dad who took her virginity?” I was talking to – there’s a thing – a little tattoo, there’s a tattoo artist in the church, there’s a number of them. Exotic dancers kept coming in and getting a little tattoo, I think it says, “Daddy’s Girl.” You know what that is? That’s like a gang symbol. It’s like branding for girls who were molested by their dad and now strip for living.
I’ve got an 11-year-old girl and a five-year-old girl. I mean if they were molested or raped, if I was the one to do it – and so they made that their vocation and went in for a tattoo that said “Daddy’s Girl” to brand them like a Scarlet A – just so you guys know there’s nothing attractive about that. It’s very sad. Sorry, I’m making you cry. But any guy who doesn’t think like that, he’s not ready to be a Christian husband. Any guy who premeditates, “I’m gonna go to a bachelor party, get on a plane, go to Vegas and see naked girls,” he doesn’t have the mind of Christ. He certainly – he doesn’t have any inclination to love his wife like Christ loves the Church. And we do live in a stupid culture where it is, “Well, it’s your bachelor party, man. That’s a freebie.” No, it’s not. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” No, it doesn’t. We were at the airport and there’s a maternity shirt that says, “This is what happened in Vegas.” I mean we just make all these sort of jokes around it all. It’s just a bizarre culture.
Grace: You want to talk about the pastor in Vegas?
Yeah, I could tell them about the pastor in Vegas. I was this week, in Dallas, with a pastor in Vegas and a huge percentage of his church has come to Christ out of strip clubs. And I got another buddy who pastors a large church in Vegas – good guy – Evangelist – he’s got women in his church who were molested, raped, abused, now they’re single moms who strip to pay for their kids. They’ve come to Christ. They can’t make that much money, otherwise, and the church is struggling to know what to do with them, because guys like this make it a viable income stream. I want you dudes to think about it, next time you go to Vegas, you could be putting $1 bills into the g-string of a gal who goes to my buddy’s church and is a single mother who just met Jesus, and has been trying to figure out how to get a better job without putting her kid in daycare. You’ve got to think this through – you’ve got to think this through.
So, I would tell the gal that he’s not ready to be a husband. Go meet with the counselor, tell him to get some help, and I would say at this point, move on – move on. I’d say you don’t just have a right to be mad, I think you have a right to be deeply graved that he’s such a fool. And if you’re that guy, you’re gonna get all self-righteous and ticked and send me an email. That’s fine. I’ll delete it and pray for you, you know, because it’s just not excusable and it’s not good.
Question: How can a single man do his best to avoid selfish habits and prepare to be a good husband?
I think that’s a good question. I think the first thing is to assume you are selfish and to be looking for ways to correct that. I would ask questions like what do you do with your money? What do you do with your time? What do you do with your extra energy? I mean are you finding places to serve in ministry, even. Are you serving others? I think if you’re a single guy who works a job, pays his bills and doesn’t break any big commandments, you could pretty much be selfish, because you’re outperforming the rest of the guys. You look pretty good, all right. But, I would say this attitude of, “Okay. I know have a tendency towards selfishness,” is really good to acknowledge. And I would ask the other guys in your life, in what ways is there selfishness. But, I would look at your calendar, I’d look at your budget, and I’d start asking myself, “Am I generous with my money? Tithing? Helping those in need? Am I generous with my time? When I get free time, am I using any of it to serve others? To help others? To invest in others? Should I be teaching a community group? Should I be working in kids’ ministry? Should I be volunteering at an organization? Should I, by using my time to serve, building in me that ethic of service?” But, I think it’s a good question, because very few guys even ask it.
Most single guys – I’ll just be brutally pointed with you – they’re very selfish wanting to marry a woman who will do what they want. That’s it. Nothing Christ-like in it at all, and acknowledging that is a good first step. It takes nine years in marriage, they say – sociologically – before you’re not selfish, all right. You could probably whittle that number back a little bit if you start in your single years sort of going after that root of selfishness.
Question: I am a 60-year-old husband and father – congratulations – I feel this message came too late in life. Is there hope for me to be the man you speak of?
I’d say a couple things. One, I appreciate the honestly. There’s a lot of young guys sitting here going, “Oh, so if you just live for a long time as a Christian you don’t automatically figure it all out.” See, there’s this big – and I’m in no way trying to dishonor this man, because I believe he’s acting very honorably – there is a myth that older equals wiser, all right. People always say, “Well, when you get older and wiser –,” ahh, don’t necessarily put those together. You could be older and foolish; Hugh Hefner is, all right. You could be young and wise. David says in the Psalms, “God has made me wiser than my counselors,” and he writes that as a young man, all right. Paul tells Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you, because you – but set an example for them,” all right. He said, “Be wise.” So, the first thing I’d say is some of you guys who are here are assuming, “More years will make me more holy.” No, not necessarily. Wisdom, obedience, humility, repentance, that will help you be wiser.
And so, I appreciate a man of this age saying, “I’ve had a lot of years and I’m not – I’ve not invested them as well as I can.” I think one of the most powerful things a man can do at this age, because he is in that position of a patriarch, that his wife, his children, his grandchildren, probably appreciate, respect, honor, need him more than he is even aware of, and that his ability to speak into their life is more powerful than he would assume. And so, it’s really amazingly powerful when a man at this stage of his life demonstrates humble repentance if he sits his wife down and says, “Here are my sins against you, and I ask your forgiveness. And I’m willing to get help, to read, to go to a counselor, so that however many years we have; I can love you like Christ loved the church.” That is absolutely redeeming and powerful for the wife. If he then sits his sons down and says, “These are the ways I have not loved your mother, and I have not set a good example, and I have not loved you well.” He will then be breaking that cycle of fathers giving to their sons a way of life that 1 Peter says, “Is hollow and empty.” Peter says that, “We can be delivered from the hollow and empty way of life that is handed to us by our fathers,” that’s a quote from Peter.
I know one guy, he’s – this is his story. He’s a godly guy, pastor – I won’t divulge who it is – and he realized he had not loved his wife well. There were some things that he had not demonstrated well and his sons were treating their wives the same way. He wasn’t keenly aware of it until he saw it reflected in his sons. And he sat his sons down, one at a time, and he said, “These were all my sins. I sinned against your mother, I sinned against God, and I sinned against you, and I take responsibility, because I see you treating your wife in that way.” And it was absolutely healing for his sons. To see that humble repentance in their dad, freed them up to have humble repentance. And they actually went home to their wives and repented, and apologized, and changed. And if you’ve got grandkids, you do the same thing with your grandkids. “You know, when you kids came over, the way I was treating grandma, what I said, what I did, that was wicked, that was evil, that was sinful.”
There is a lot of power in the repentance and humility of someone who’s older, okay. And what you may be realizing as I say this, is that it’s not about you. It’s about the legacy you leave. Will it be one of humble repentance or foolishness that never got corrected? And this is a wonderful opportunity to be about redeeming your legacy.
Question: Are there wrong sexual acts inside of marriage?
There are principles that guide, like naked without shame. So, if one of you feels ashamed, like they’re being dominated, or mistreated, or abused, then that’s a sin. If it’s lust, you’re looking at pictures or whatever of someone else, you’re not supposed to bring that in. If it’s – beyond that, you’re free within marriage. Marriage is one man, one woman, one flesh. And it’s an issue of does one of you feel disrespected, unloved, imposed upon? If it’s something you both enjoy, it doesn’t involve another person, or pictures, or images of other people, beyond that our thinking is you’re free. You’re free to discuss what you like. Are there positions that are off? No. Do we give a lot more freedom than the average Christian? Yes. Lots of Christians are like, “Well, I don’t know about that.” Have fun, okay. Love one another, talk about it, if you want to try it, try it. Have fun. If one of you is against it, or is hurt by it, or uncomfortable with it, then the answer is no – then the answer is no. I don’t know if you have anything else to add to that. I mean, usually there’s a specific thing behind this question.
Grace: Yeah. It just – the goal is to continue to build intimacy. So, if something you’re doing isn’t building intimacy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that thing is wrong, but it may mean that you need to talk about it before you enter into it again. And if you’re going to be married for life, you’re gonna need to explore and be creative and, you know, go through different definitions of what freedom means, and grow and learn in that according to – but we don’t have boundaries in the Scripture, I mean except for what Mark was saying. If it’s abusive or harmful, you know if you’re uncomfortable with it, talk it through, and give time for people to heal through stuff.
Question: I’m an engaged gal living with my – dangit – fiancé. We’re already having sex, how can I talk to my fiancé about waiting now?
I’ll be here after the service; you bring him right here. Seriously, this is Ballard, I’m here. Ah-ha, we’ll do this – we’ll do this. So, there’s no need to talk him; I would love to. And I know that you ask this question because you’re at Mars Hill, and you already know what the answer is. The dudes handle the dudes in a dude way. So, that guy can meet me in front of the stage after service. Find your cup. I’ll see you in about half an hour – true story, okay. And that lady, she can understand that we love her, and that we want her to be loved and cherished, and this man is not loving her as Christ loves the church. He’s not. It’s a sin. And you men need to know that we take this stuff very, very seriously, and we deal with the men as men. And it doesn’t mean that God can’t forgive and God can’t heal, but it does mean that you must repent for any of that to really be transformed. And so we’re serious on this issue, and whoever this guy is, I’ll see you in about half an hour. Next question.
Grace: And you need to say no to him from now on, because you know it’s a sin and you need to just draw that line, and the guy can be dealt with, too. But, you need to – you have accountability with your relationship before the Lord, and you need to say no.
Bellevue: I suspect my 71-year-old dad is looking at porn. I’m afraid that if I bring it up it will hurt my mom. Any suggestions?
Well, if he’s looking at porn, it’s already hurting your mom. See, the big myth is it’s secret, so it doesn’t hurt. No, it hurts. It hurts – see sin separates. The first thing we see in Genesis when sin happens is that they feel ashamed, they cover their nakedness, they hide from God, and they hide from one another. Men, who are in sin and shame, they hide from God and they hide from their spouse. That’s what our first father, Adam, did. And so, to think that a man could look at porn and be lusting after other women, and have a secret life – he doesn’t have a secret life, because God knows and sees all. Additionally, his wife suffers. He’s not going to be as aggressive with her, or initiate with her, or be desirous of her, because he’ll feel guilty. Or he will be desirous of her, but it’ll be thinking of another woman, so it’ll be lust. Either way, it negatively affects the marriage – negatively affects the marriage.
And so, what I would say is –
Grace: Is he a beliver?
Yeah. First of all, is he a Christian? If he’s not, you’ve got to start with, here’s sin and here’s Jesus, and he died for sin. He takes away sin. He liberates us from sin. We could live wholly new lives. If he is a Christian, you’ve got to go to him and just ask point blank, “Dad, I love you. I respect you, but I need to know the truth. Are you looking at porn,” – you know – “Do you have secret sin that’s really not a secret?” And if so, then he needs to repent to his wife – if you’re a guy who looks at porn – you’ve got to repent to wife. Any sexual sin in your life, you’ve got to repent to God and your spouse. You can’t just deal with it, you need to put it out, walk in the light as he is in the light, and have fellowship with one another. That’s what the Bible says.
Grace: Have resources available.
Yeah. What do you –
Grace: Have resources available when you go to him, so that if he is repentant, then you’re ready to help him out and walk through that possibly with him, if that’s what God wants.
Yeah. He may need a biblical counselor; he may need a redemption group. I’ve got about a 16,000-word booklet, called Porn-Again Christian that I’ve edited and it’ll be free online starting this week, and it’s all about men and pornography. It’s very frank, but it’s to the point. That’ll be up there, as well, with some other recommended resources. But, if you have a suspicion, and I’d say this is just guys in general, just ask – have the courage to ask. And if you love them, you need to know what the truth is, and then hold them accountable to get some serious help, because it does damage their relationship with God and with their spouse. So, it’s just courage, and we’ll pray for you.