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Tozer vs. Driscoll

August 3, 2009

In his sermon on Titus 2:6-8, “Temptations Peculiar to Young Men,”(MP3*) A. W. Tozer notices that young men, “more than others,” are tempted to “self-indulgence.” This self-indulgence, Tozer adds, “manifests itself in three directions. It manifests itself in sex, food, and pleasures. Pleasure of body, mind, and soul.” He continues, beginning his admonition on these three manifestations of self-indulgence:

I’m going to deliberately pass over the first [sex] for the reason that some of you want me to discuss it. And all I would do, if I did discuss it at any length, would be to embarrass the tender-minded and feed the suggestions of the carnal-minded, and I don’t want to do either. I only want to remind you that God made you and built sex into your disposition, and self-indulgence is going to harm, and do terrific harm.

I have only heard Mark Driscoll speak once, and have not ever listened to Mark Driscoll talk about the conjugal relationship. Frankly, I have no real interest in hearing his comments. But I am vaguely aware of his approach to these matters based on a New York Times article and a vague awareness of John MacArthur’s rebuke of Driscoll’s exploitation of certain passages of Scripture (see MacArthur’s blog posts 1 2 3 & 4).

As I listened to Tozer, I was struck by the disparity of the approach of this old faithful preacher and this new controversial one.


The Christian Missionary Alliance website, which provides sermon audio of Tozer, says, “©2005 Tozer Sermons, The Christian and Missionary Alliance. All rights reserved. The Tozer audio sermons are for PERSONAL USE ONLY. Downloading, reproducing or mastering the files, either manually or electronically, for commercial use or resale purposes is strictly forbidden. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law and all rights are reserved by The Christian and Missionary Alliance.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2009 7:21 am

    Good stuff. I just preached on contextualizing the gospel (from Acts 17) this past Sunday at the afternoon service at Bethany for the camp counselors. I used Driscoll as a foil throughout. Hopefully some of it sunk in with these college students!

  2. Stuart Blessman permalink
    August 5, 2009 10:03 pm


    Tozer > Driscoll

    Why is that?

  3. August 5, 2009 10:19 pm

    Okay, I’ll bite, but I may not respond to rejoinders.

    There are many reasons, to answer your question. Tozer’s practice refuses to succumb to appetite (Christianity has always been opposed to exploiting man’s appetites). It recognizes that some subject matters are obscene (a sure nod, not only to historic Christianity piety, but to what C. S. Lewis called the Tao). It recognizes that pulpit speech is reverent speech in a corporate act of solemn worship. It recognizes that there is a difference between what is sacred and what is secular, even for Christians (this distinction has fallen out of favor, but I believe without good Biblical grounds). It recognizes that there is a sacredness to the marriage bed that should not be desecrated with explicit and lewd talk. There are more.


  1. “I’m going to deliberately pass over the first [sex] for the reason that some of you want me to discuss it.” | Religious Affections Ministries

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