[Guest post by Wenatchee The Hatchet concerning Mark Driscoll's Song of Songs series, Intro & Part One]
Mark Driscoll has been a polarizing figure for years and if the sound bites associated with him any given year are any indication he plans to be a lightning rod in American Christianity for as long as he can. Though there are number of topics about which he has chosen to say controversial things that he says are simply statements in the Bible, he has become most famous for his remarks on sex and gender.
I intend to summarize a few observations about what Driscoll has said about Song of Songs. Though Driscoll presents himself as just preaching what is in the Bible Christians have questioned the viability and propriety of Driscoll's handling of Song of Songs. In the last few years there have been two objections. The first is that Driscoll's approach to Song of Songs is so explicit as to turn Song of Songs into a kind of Christian porn. The most famous exponent of this first objection is John MacArthur who, in "The Rape of Solomon's Song" accuses Driscoll of transforming a biblical text into Christian pornography. The second objection is that by being deliberately cavalier about allegorical typological interpretations of Song of Songs Driscoll is choosing to ignore a venerable interpretive tradition within the Christian faith.
Here I intend to demonstrate that while both objections have their merits there is a third objection to make to Driscoll's handling of Song of Songs. The problem in Driscoll's handling of Song of Songs does not reside in his emphasis on marital love; it also does not reside, strictly speaking, in his refusal to concede a metaphor in Song of Songs for God loving His people. The problem resides in Driscoll's hermeneutic of erotic at the expense of both the perspicuity of scripture and of Jesus' own words about His fulfillment of Scripture. This can be broken down into four issues:
1. Driscoll's rejection of Christ typology in Song of Songs forces him to reject the words of Christ about scripture regarding Himself.
2. This rejection also compels him to reject the Bridegroom/Bride metaphor only for Song of Songs while affirming it in every other genre.
3. This rejection of Christ typology in Song of Songs transforms the book into a type of Christian porn that has no teaching value for the unmarried, for the widow, or for a child. In Driscoll's hands Song of Songs is no longer a gift given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the whole church and instead becomes a sex manual of special value to the married.
4. This rejection of Christ typology in Song of Songs of necessity rejects the one place in the Scripture besides the eschatological Wedding Feast of the Lamb in which the marriage between God and His people could be presented in a positive light.
ISSUE ONE: MARK DRISCOLL VS THE WORDS OF CHRIST ABOUT SCRIPTURE
The first and most difficult issue is that if the Song of Songs cannot in any way refer to Christ then Driscoll must account for Jesus' words in John 5:39-47. Jesus declared that the scriptures pointed to Him. In Luke 24:25-27 Jesus is described as explaining the things concerning Himself in Moses and all the prophets and in all the Scriptures. Now if Luke and John testify that Christ said the Scriptures pointed to Him before His death and explained to disciples after resurrection how the Scriptures pointed to Him, then the only way Song of Songs could be omitted from these two statements by Christ about Himself and the Scriptures is if Song of Songs ISN'T SCRIPTURE.
Driscoll can't resort to such a claim because he affirms Song of Songs is canonical. After all, he wouldn't preach the book if it weren't in the Bible. He even mentions in his preaching about the book that Song of Songs has been read at Passover so one could make the case that the association of Song of Songs with Passover even predates Christ Himself. Driscoll, generally, has been eager to say that all Scripture properly understood points to Jesus. As Driscoll is so fond of saying, "It's all about Jesus!"
Except for Song of Songs, which has to be about wifely stripteases and holy blowjobs and date nights. In fact Driscoll has joked that if the Groom in Song of Songs is actually Jesus then Jesus is doing things to him (Driscoll) that make him feel uncomfortable. Driscoll has so sexualized the content of Song of Songs in his personal handling of the text he actually CAN'T let himself see the book as a testament to Christ. If this is so then Driscoll testifies against himself about whether or not he believes all Scripture is ultimately all about Jesus.