[1/28/12 NOTE: Since writing this post on Jan 20, I have received an email from NLM's President, Larry Sonnenburg. Please see this within the comments below.]
Well, it’s come to my attention that New Life Ministries, a ministry I’ve endorsed and still endorse, has, via their New Life Live radio program (NLL), aired a show on Jan 11, 2012 with… you guessed it, Mark Driscoll as Steven Arterburn’s guest! Steve had invited him to highlight Driscoll’s new book on marriage! I have not yet read the book, but my immediate response was a heart sick, “Oh no!” and then a very confused, “What the heck??!!”
I just listened to the 10 or so minutes Driscoll was on air. What he said sounded right-on, but from what I recall, he does that. He can sound really good about a lot of things, I guess even about marriage some times, or at least he did on Jan 11.
But there is simply too much I do not know at this point to make any kind of assumption. But here are some things I do know and some things I hope for.
Arterburn and NLL (New Life Live) have been notified regarding some of the concerns many of us on this blog share.
I hope NLL and Steven Arterburn will do some research regarding MH and Driscoll.
I know from decades of reading and exposure to NLL and the wonderful co-hosts on the program that they are not at all about what Driscoll and MH have appeared to me to be about as covered in this blog. That is so NOT New Life Ministries!
As I’ve stated throughout this blog, my take on MH and Driscoll is solely based on reports from survivors of MH, my brief experience of the church, reading Driscoll’s book, Vintage Church, research on MH, and listening to many of Driscoll’s sermons in the past.
What I don’t know is if Driscoll has had a heart-change over the past couple of years since I last looked into MH… and as stated I have not read his new book on marriage which NLL is apparently promoting.
But another thing I do know beyond any doubt is that everything I have ever heard come out of NLL, from Arterburn, Dr. Townsend, Dr. Cloud, Milan Yerkovich, Dr. Sherri Denim, Dr. Jill Hubbard, and Dr. Stoop, and from their books–over the 25 years I’ve been reading them–have all been life-giving, woman-honoring, and the most healthy, balanced view of psychologically and spiritually healthy and sane living that I have ever come across… and I read voraciously! And I generally make a conscious effort to not say words like “everything” “ever” “all” and “the most,” in other words, those always/never type words, but it’s true here, really! I still trust NLL very much. I think Arterburn’s invitation to Driscoll is more indicative of a lack of awareness of Driscoll’s and MH’s history than any corroboration with Driscoll’s and MH’s apparent abusive tendencies…
I hope and trust that if Driscoll’s recent book promotes those same harmful attitudes toward women and general controlling/abusive tactics that we’ve seen or heard about, and if the co-hosts read the book, that they will talk to Steve about this. They would in all likelihood be as appalled as we have been. I would also be surprised Steve would endorse Driscoll’s book if in it Driscoll was spouting what we have seen highlighted in this blog (unless he gave the book only a cursory and brief read), since Arterburn is the author of Every Man’s Battle (about porn addiction and how to break free), as well as a book on spiritual abuse (which I have not read).
I, personally, would also continue to trust NLL’s recommendations for therapists on their referral list. From what I understand they have a pretty thorough screening process… but of course this does not guarantee the particular skill-level of each therapist nor the fit for any particular person. What I suggest is if one is an MH victim/survivor, one could simply ask what the therapist thinks of MH and Driscoll before proceeding to set that first appointment. It’s unfathomable to me that a therapist who is immersed in Cloud/Townsend materials and Yerkovich’s HWL could ever embrace much of Driscoll’s (at least former, if not current) stance regarding sex, male-female relationships and authority/submission. In fact, Dr. Cloud has recently over the past couple of months on NLL adamantly renounced the kind of sick thinking insecure/controlling “Christian” men spout at their wives, “woman, you have to submit to me because I’m the man!” When/if I locate that exact broadcast date, I’ll post it here.
In the meantime, let’s continue to pray for all involved, and let’s continue to walk in…
Grace and Truth, and…