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19 November 2008

image Mars Hill teaching pastor Mark Driscoll threw open the book of Song of Songs in a recent sermon series on sex within the context of marriage. "We got a whole book of the Bible talking about this issue, and even sometimes good faithful Bible teachers won’t touch this book and I’ve asked them why. And they’re like ‘because it’s got some parts in there that are pretty dicey,’" Driscoll said early on in his "The Peasant Princess" sermon series, which launched in September. Driscoll called the series "exceedingly important" to preach on, especially at a time when traditional marriage is being challenged in courts, Americans are daily inundated with sexual images, and more money is being spent on pornography than foreign aid. More and more pastors have decided to deal more frankly and openly with the issue, some even advertising their teaching series to the public and others challenging the married couples in their congregations to be intimate every day for a week or a month. But Mars Hill’s Driscoll is hitting more touchy topics through the study the Song of Songs, giving "MH-17" warnings for some of his sermons. "Our study of the Song of Songs is meant neither to kill our desires nor permit them to flow into deadly sin. Rather, this series is an attempt to cultivate our desires and channel them toward our spouse according to the wisdom God gives us in his Word," he explained. In addition to preaching, Driscoll and his wife, Grace, are taking questions from congregants via text and e-mail immediately after each sermon—a daring session of unscripted answers that began at Mars Hill in January. With a no-holds-barred attitude, Driscoll has answered some of the more explicit questions on his blog.         —Christian Post 11/13/08

There have been a few times when I have given a warning, either the week before, or at the beginning of the worship service that my sermon was going to  be”R” rated.  The problem is what to do with kids who are too old for children’s church.  During second service we don’t have alternate programming for kids over 5th grade. I hate for sensitive families not to come to church or feel like they have to leave because they don’t want their kids exposed to something a little more “delicate”.  I recognize that my tastes may be a little more liberal than some about what is OK for kids to be exposed to, but still preach the Word in its completeness. 

Suggestions on how you have handled this?

Sensitive Subjects

5 Comments to “MH-17?”

  1. Cal, We have the same issue; children and “sensitive families.” Therefore, I am usually not overly explicit. I rarely regret it…

  2. rather than in a sermon, could a study on this subject be done within the context of small group meetings?

  3. Thanks Jon. Your prudence is good. Part of my question is what is “overly explicit.” Last Sunday when I preached on Acts 26, I had thought about mentioning that King Agrippa and his sister Berneice had an incestuous relationship. I chose not to because of the questions it would raise.

  4. Dan:
    You are absolutely correct. In reference to my reply to Jon, that is what I did with Agrippa and Berneice. I put it in the notes for the small groups to mention (if they so chose). But many churches don’t have small group meetings or even in those who do, many people are not in them. Do they just lose out on the insight because of that? Perhaps.

  5. yeah, that’s true. i didn’t think about the retention rate of small groups in churches. it’s way too idealistic to assume everyone participates. 🙂

    well, another question (actually two) i have about where to draw lines.

    1. how much extra work would it be to throw those nuances of the text up on a blog and point people to that if they want to go a little deeper into a more academic study of the text that your sermon allows? almost like an online commentary…

    2. could the fact that people miss out on that insight be used as an incentive to motivate more people to get plugged into a small group?

    just a couple thoughts…

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