Here is a segment of a discussion from Driscoll’s interview with Justin Brierly on Premier Radio. Robin Parry gives some insight into the implications of Driscoll’s reasoning on his Theological Scribbles:
They were in the process of discussing women in church leadership but Driscoll’s interpretation of the nature of hell interestingly came up in the interview…Robin Parry begins with his thoughts on the conversation:
The whole final section of the interview was not Mark Driscoll’s finest hour. Most of the online discussion since has been on his macho view of men and women and his insight into modern British preachers (i.e., there are no courageous young preachers in Britain — they are all cowards: girly men not manly men). I won’t comment on those issues (though I could!)
The following little comment did surprise me a little:
Driscoll: Do you believe in a conscious literal eternal torment of hell?
Brierly: What has that got to do with the issue of women in leadership, if you don’t mind me asking?
Driscoll: It does. It depends on your view of God. Is God like a mom who just embraces everyone? Or is he like a father who also protects, and defends, and disciplines? If you won’t answer the question, I think I know the answer.
Mark Driscoll has a manly God not a girly God. Apparently, if one thinks of God in “masculine” ways (as opposed to pink and girly ways) then you must believe in eternal, conscious torment.
I beg your pardon!
If tormenting people forever and ever is a “masculine” way to behave then I am very concerned for what Driscoll thinks it is for “men to be men.” It sounds like being masculine is about being a violent brute!
But perhaps that’s not fair. Driscoll goes on to explain that the reason why a manly God torments sinners forever is that he is a “father who also protects, and defends, and disciplines.” Now I am much more sympathetic to “masculine” understood in these ways.
Oh . . . hold on . . . now I’m confused.
God torments sinners in hell because he is protecting them? eh?
Defending them? huh?
Disciplining them? urm? Disciplining them . . . forever . . . with no chance to improve? How is this discipline?
I think — I hope — that Mark Driscoll has not thought this through clearly and that it was simply an offhand remark; that he put the phone down and thought, “Man! Why did I say that dumb stuff!”
As a theological argument it is vacuous. If Mark would prefer that in more manly terms: it’s utter bollocks!
–Robin Parry, Theological Scribbles
Mark Driscoll, as we all have to admit we have done, gets caught in the mire of saying things he is not supposed to believe like:
“God is protective like a father”
“God loves His enemies”
“He will restore all creation to its original intention”
“justice is restorative in nature”
What causes Driscoll and others who confess they believe in an eternal conscious torment to say such things? Driscoll and other theologians are expressing a hope far beyond what they are allowed to entertain. You must decipher what is behind these reckless statements of a faith in an all-sovereign, all-loving God. Ask yourself why it is we tend to portray God as better than He is and the Good News as better than we have been taught?