There is no present-tense expression in any age of the Church this side of Christ's Second Coming in which unreserved adoration and praise for God's people is given. Jesus is the Groom who rebukes and cajoles His bride for Her continual failures and worldliness thus it is unsurprising that a man like Driscoll, in rejecting Song of Songs, can never ultimately have a vision of Christ's people that can exult in Her. It is only in Song of Songs where a husband and wife are shown speaking to each other with unbridled affection. It is only in Song of Songs where there is any "now" to the beauty of a marriage filled with mutual affection and by extension the marital metaphor for God and His people that Driscoll feels compelled to reject.
Thus a pastor like Driscoll only knows how to speak to the betrothed Bride as someone who isn't worthy of the Groom. She'd better clean up, get her act together and stop being so bad because her sins are bad enough that Jesus had to die for them... but it's not quite clear that Driscoll knows how to articulate the depth of the Bridegroom's love for the waiting Bride. Driscoll could preach for years on Hosea and mention the promise God makes to speak tenderly and winsomely to the wayward Bride. But where could we turn in the scriptures to see HOW God might speak in such a winsome and tender way to such a Bride.
Well, obviously NOT in Song of Songs as Driscoll expounds it because in it he sees only wifely stripteases and holy blowjobs. Driscoll's understanding of how a pastor should speak to the Bride is as a Hosea or an Elijah telling Israel she's a whore or an apostle telling the Corinthians they should be ashamed of themselves. In other words, at the risk of stretching the metaphors a bit, Driscoll is fine with the Hosea who says God "will" speak tenderly to His people but can't accept that Song of Songs could be where God DOES speak tenderly to the Bride of His people.
--WTH last three paragraphs from WTH on Driscoll's SOS part 4a
I hear a lot of reasons why people are falling away from the church. The Wartburg Watch has a post on why young people are turning away. Certain sectors of Christianity are worried about men not going to church and are blaming women and the feminization of Church and society.
But I have noted that many women are falling away because God has been presented in a, never-satisfied, hard-hearted, male-favoring light. God has been presented as a grumpy patriarch with no tenderness and little to no concern over the things that might concern women. God has been presented as one who is only concerned about women preforming their role of wife and mother and not even wanting to speak to women except through their husbands, fathers, and in some cases, even their sons.
I know women who are falling away from the church because of this presentation of God. Preachers and patriarchs in these circles are far more concerned with keeping control over their women and making sure their women are meeting the human standards that are set up than with the need of the woman for tenderness.
I know for myself, learning of this tenderness of God that exists but not mentioned much has greatly enhanced my relationship with God and has healed the hurt places. I had found it other place in the Bible.
Zephaniah 3:17“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
Matthew11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
They are like hidden treasures where God expresses joy over us, or desire to gather us to Him or refers to Himself as gentle and humble. But even in these places, they are short at best, and as in the Luke 13 passage, it is mixed with sorrow over their sin.
But in Song of Solomon, it is concentrated, mutual adoration, a place where tenderness abounds.
It's not, "I love you, but you fall short, are sinful, etc." It is just, "I love you, no buts!"
No buts, no shaming, no pointing to flaws.
Actually, a couple of places in the Songs the bride points to her own flaws but the Bridegroom is right there to build her up and hold her close.