Driscoll: Why Christians Criticize My Book

Some thoughts from Mark Driscoll on why he’s getting so much flack… from Christians… on his new book on sex and marriage.  Here are some exerpts from a piece he wrote for CNN’s Religion Blog:

You try to write a book on marriage and sex with your wife and next thing you know there are a lot of ants crashing your picnic.

My wife, Grace, and I recently published “Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together,” which quickly became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.

In it, we’re brutally honest about our past struggles, share the lessons we learned along the way and talk frankly about sex. Criticism has ensued.

If you wish to find that criticism, just do a Google search. You’ll find plenty. My intent here is not to name names and pick a fight with my critics, but to provide context on why there is criticism.

We knew before we wrote the book that we’d catch a lot of flak, especially on the chapters dealing with sex. We also knew the criticism would come from every direction, as some people would think we went too far and others would think we didn’t go far enough.

But we wrote it anyway. Why? Simply put, we want to help marriages — and single people aspiring to marry — and we wanted to do so in a way that is practical, biblical and applicable to the reality of today’s culture.

If the book accomplishes that, we’ll take the criticism in exchange for helping people. We don’t think our book is perfect and we tell folks upfront (literally in the preface) to take what is helpful and leave the rest…


Many Christians, because of upbringing and past church experiences, view sex as gross and something that should not be talked about in public…

Those who view sex as gross criticize our book because we speak too openly and frankly about sex for their taste. The accusation is that the private counsel that pastors give to people in the church isn’t suitable to give in a public context.

But many critics tend to want to debate nuances of theology rather than engage head-on the practical realities that many people are facing…

While it may be fun for bloggers and critics to discuss these things, our hope was that couples would instead be the ones having these conversations to build their marriages in ways that don’t pressure, abuse or use one another.


There are some who think about almost nothing else but sex, treating it as a kind of god. This can happen in the form of addiction to sex or porn, severe promiscuity, adultery or participating in various sexual acts that the Bible speaks against, making personal preference and desire more important than what God says about sex…

Those who view sex as a god criticize our book because it doesn’t go far enough for them. Because we teach that the Bible does call some sex acts sin, such as pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality, adultery and more, we are criticized for being judgmental, prudish, antiquated and fundamentalist..

In the end, for conservatives we’re too liberal, and for liberals we’re too conservative. We can’t win.



You can read more here.


  • Billyv January 24, 2012 Reply

    The Kellers’ wrote a book on marriage too. Didn’t see the criticism on it. They too talked about sex. Kellers’ book was graceful. Driscoll got probably 10X the publicity. I’m not crying for him right now. Brings alot of the criticism on himself.

  • Jason January 24, 2012 Reply

    I read the Driscoll’s book and I thought it was great. No criticism from me. I dont think I have ever agreed with one author over everything in any book, but it doesnt mean I need to bash them. I like Mark, and agree with him more than I disagree. The book was direct and practical. I like that. Great job Mark and Grace. Keep writing books.

  • Henry Michael Imler January 24, 2012 Reply

    As with much of Mark (and Grace)’s stuff, he strikes out with a full count.

    What’s with the odd, self-pitting aggressive slam on people that disagree?

    I see some of his points. I like that he’s engaging with these issues.

    But then there’s how he does it and how immature he’s been when a) unjustly/harshly criticized and b) genuinely engaged (see Brierley and the Unbelievable? flap).

    So, to Mark I have to say, “Man up, go watch how Rob Bell endured and responded to criticism and emulate his love, thoughtfulness, and maturity.”

    • Jim February 18, 2012 Reply


  • Stephen M Young II January 25, 2012 Reply

    The strongest argument against the book was a guest post on Peter Lumpkin’s blog called “Why I Think Mark Driscoll is a Misogynist: a Southern Baptist Woman’s Perspective by Mary England” Not sure about posting links here, so just google the quoted title.

  • Brian January 25, 2012 Reply

    “Wah…wah…nobody understands me…I’m too good for the bad people and too bad for the good people…I’m too deep for the shallow boneheads and too shallow for the technocrats…” Enough already! His mission in life seems to be to have his name in print.

  • steve miller January 25, 2012 Reply

    Christians are to be unified, but not cookie cutter conformists. We can disagree on many things without saying the other side is wrong. We can disagree, be different, and still be unified in serving and loving Christ.

    I ain’t Mark, you aren’t Mark either. Mark is Mark. God called Mark to be Mark Driscoll, to be a specific type of man ministering the truth of Christ to a specific demographic. If he isn’t ministering to you, maybe he isn’t bad, he is just God’s tool for a different group of people. If he stops being theologically based, then you can jump on him and correct him. If he denies Christ I’ll be the first in line to lovingly rebuke him. But for now, let Mark be Mark. Let Jesus lead him, don’t confuse a different ministry style and a different calling for being bad. You are not the standard for Christian performance, and neither am I.

  • Skjaere January 25, 2012 Reply

    How strange. Very little of the criticism I’ve seen of the Driscolls’ book has been to do with going “too far” or “not far enough” on the sex. I’ve read several thoughtful and incisive reviews so far about the problems inherent in this book. When you write a book and put it out there in the public sphere, you’re not in control of the conversation anymore, and you don’t get to decide why people are critical of it. I think Driscoll is having a hard time grasping that.

  • Casey Sabella January 30, 2012 Reply

    I like Mark warts and all.

  • adam mclane January 31, 2012 Reply

    Poor millionaire megachurch pastor… I mean, seriously? He clearly doesn’t care about feedback. (Just ask Matthew Paul Turner)

    It’s not that I dislike Driscoll’s ministry. It’s that I don’t see anytone telling Mr. Driscoll he is embarrassing to those of us who aren’t fundamentalists.

  • Fred February 3, 2012 Reply

    “Many Christians, because of upbringing and past church experiences, view sex as gross”

    Maybe back in 1950.

  • Jarret February 18, 2012 Reply

    Ok, that’s 5 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. He writes a book, which he is all to eager to make sure we know is a New York Times best seller, and people criticize it??? You poor thing, it’s so unfair that people criticized a book you published and are making money from it comes with the territory my friend.
    Celebrate the good things the book is doing to help marriages and stop worrying about the critics. It’s like feeding trolls, the more you whine and cry the more they will write. And please, why would u google to see who criticized it???

  • Chris March 14, 2012 Reply

    None of what he wrote has anything to do with why he’s been criticized. Nothing.

  • Chris Rosebrough March 15, 2012 Reply

    So the only reason why people would criticize Driscoll’s book is if they think sex is gross… Can anyone say Ad Hominem?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FD50OTR3arY

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