And the truth comes out! The fifth episode of Mike Cosper’s podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill* didn’t even bother to hide it’s goals in attacking complementarianism by attaching it to Mark Driscoll. Early on Cosper even admits that the subject matter of the episode seems to have nothing to do with the actual fall of the church, and then asks us to just take his word that it does. And as usual there are many problems that could be picked at; ranging from ignoring inconvenient facts such as Driscoll’s public admittance to his appalling sermon on the Song of Songs was absolutely incorrect and unacceptable, to the bizarre aside where Cosper picks apart the famous “Who the hell do you think you are” sermon in an effort to suggest that Driscoll was trying to get a book deal, that he already had…
As per the last round I am going to focus on one major issue and a few of the smaller ones that point to it. Namely that Mike Cosper doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to a Christian approach to women.
Much of the episode, “The things we do to women” is spent taking Driscoll to task for how he viewed sex in marriage. To hear Cosper tell it Driscoll only saw women as sexual objects, and to back himself up he brought in such voices as Kristin Du Mez, Rose Madrid Swetman, and Sarah Bessie. And this is the first problem with the set up. Neither of these commenters have any credibility critiquing any aspect of Christianity since they are non believers at best and heretics at worst. It’s sort of akin getting Tetzel’s thoughts on that Luther fellow then taking them as gospel. The one voice of any credibility was Rachael Denhollander who clearly does follow Christ.
Secondly Cosper proves his sheer ignorance or refusal to at any point deal with the scripture or substance of Driscoll’s position. It is always assumed that Cosper’s position is the correct one and he never so much as quotes a verse to back himself up. The trick it to play the worst possible sound bite with ominous music and then find someone who’s feelings were hurt. An example would be that while Driscoll was clearly over the line in his graphic articulation of sex in a marriage, that is the logical conclusion to one of the two major interpretations of the Song of Solomon. Cosper reels at the idea that a wife should be visually generous or charitable to a husband, and that this is a kindness to help keep him from sin. Because if feminism has taught us anything women get to determine everything about sex up to including frequency . Not only does scripture defy his presupposition (I Corinthians 7:5) but so does reformed history the 1689 Book of Common Prayer contains both the declaration that one of the purposes of marriage is “as a remedy against sin,” as well as in the vows that each spouse promises to “with my body, I thee worship.” Which sounds pretty over the top but there it is.
Finally, the pure unbridled hypocrisy of Cosper pearl clutching and diving for his fainting sofa over Driscoll’s apparent objectification of women; when Cosper is the author of The Stories We Tell would be hilarious if it weren’t so infuriating. In that book not only does Cosper recommend television shows and movies with gratuitous sexposition and plat advancement through rape or violence to women, he even justifies this in the chapter, “How far is too far.” I fail to see how encouraging Christians to view pornographic material is somehow kinder to women then encouraging (albeit graphically) married couples to frequently and Biblically enjoy each other.
An actually useful podcast would examine the very real problems at Mars Hill, and Driscoll’s leadership. Perhaps even comparing them to what would seem to be tragic ongoing variations of the same thing at his new Church. This does not seem to be what Cosper and company are doing. They have an ax to grind and pot shots to take at theologies they do not like. And bear in mind that this is all produced by Christianity Today. That venerable publication is more than happy to present heretics as authorities in order to attack theologies inconvenient to their narrative. I have for several years now uncharitably referred to Mike Cosper as an idiot. Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe he is just a useful idiot.
*The title should have tipped you off as the the views of the producers toward their subject matter. See Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich…