ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Christian Marriage, Leaving the Church, Marriage, Meetings with the Pastor, Religious Power and Control, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Authority, Spiritual Bullies, Women and the Church

To Mark Gungor: There is Nothing Inspiring about using “Humor” to Publicly Degrade Women; and Please Do Better on Sex Abuse Cases

Mark Gungor, spiritual abuse, bully,

Comedy is a weird thing. It’s a place where people can get on stage and say things that have a thread of truth to it, but most people would never say publicly. And it causes people to laugh because someone was bold enough to say it. Some of those things said can be hurtful when it comes to race, physical appearances, gender, etc.

So, I found it peculiar when I came across pastor and marriage speaker, Mark Gungor, who also happens to be a comedian.

From his website’s “About Mark” page:

Mark Gungor is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and relationships in the world today. Each year thousands of couples attend his Couples’ Comedy Events. Mark’s candid and comedic approach uses unforgettable illustrations and the power of laughter to teach proven principles that are guaranteed to strengthen any relationship.

For over a decade, Mark’s materials have been the #1 resources for improving relationships used by the US Military.


What made me look up this guy?

This week, there has been a firestorm on Twitter between Mark Gungor and Sheila Gregoire. Sheila Gregoire is an author, speaker, and blogger at, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. She recently published a new book, The Great Sex Rescue, which includes the details from research she and her team conducted asking over 20,000 women about what they believed about sex, where they learned that info, and how it has affected their marriages/sex lives. Her discoveries from this research has been groundbreaking. It has shown that many popular books promoted in Christian Evangelical circles has been harmful to marriages and women.

I may have the sequence of events out of order, but I do know this: there was an exchange between Mark Gungor and Sheila Gregoire. I read through the tweets and I saw Mark Gungor using ad hominem attacks against Sheila. I saw Sheila respond back with data, addressing the issue. She used no ad hominem attacks against him.

Side note: I’m cracking up at Sheila’s new updated Twitter profile (pardon the yellow frehand highlighting). It reminded me that years ago, I updated my profile to include “sheep lady blogger” based on an ad hominem attack by Tullian Tchividjian, whom I was calling out for clergy sexual misconduct. I thought that was a cute name and so I added it to my Twitter profile – lol. These guys, though! They think they are insulting us, but they truly are complimenting us as Sheila mentions!

Back to the story . . .

I noticed Twitter followers mentioning that Mark Gungor had blocked them. I have gotten a lot of push back from spiritual bullies on Twitter, and their normal modus operandi is to block people if they are challenged. Healthy people are comfortable in their shoes and will engage with folks who question/challenge them publicly. They have no need to block, they just answer respectfully and move along. So . . . when I saw this behavior, the warning flags popped up for me. Why does Mark Gungor have a need to use ad hominem attacks against Sheila Gregoire and others who challenge him on his Facebook page? And why does he feel the need to block so many people. . . . unless he fits a particular pattern of behavior that I’ve seen and reported on over the years.

So, I observed his behavior on Facebook and Twitter yesterday and today. And now I am done observing. I’m sharing because I am so freakin’ over male Christian evangelical leaders getting a free pass on treating women poorly both privately and publicly, and especially from a platform and position of spiritual authority, and then normalizing this behavior. Mark Gungor doesn’t get to hide behind his comedy act anymore because his social media interactions are displaying his true colors. He is behaving like a bully, and a bully has no place behind a pulpit, PERIOD.

You don’t have to go to any great lengths to see his atrocious behavior. It’s out there and evident. But what’s really frustrating to me is why has this man been given platforms and free passes for so many years? Why are people paying to hear him at conferences? Well, enough is enough. My female advocate friends have gotten wind of this dude, and you will probably not hear the end of this until there is an end to this. By that I mean heartfelt public apology, repentance, and retractions. Therapy would be good, too.

There should be no place in Christian evangelicalism for Mark Gungor’s behavior which devalues, disrespects, and demoralizes women. If Gungor is allowed to continue having platforms, then it is a clear picture that Christian evangelicalism is not, and probably has never been, a safe place for women. If Mark Gungor’s messages about women are considered “normal and ok” then no wonder Christian women have not been given shelter from their abusive spouses. No wonder so many women are joining private online groups and gathering strength to leave their abusive husbands and churches.

So, because I hardly know where to start, there is so much, I’ll start with this little gem which was posted on his Facebook page. I was told that he may have taken it down. If that is the case, then we should be seeing a public apology about it. But we won’t. Because that’s how bullies behave.

As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been getting notifications on Twitter and one just came in from @mmmirele on Twitter:

“Apparently Mark Gungor took down the post that brought attention to him “due to a gaggle of emotionally triggered people commandeering the comments.” What a horrible man.”

She said it.

So then, Jackie tweeted that she had to see Gungor for herself, so she simply went to YouTube and looked him up. She described the video she watched, so I reached out to her and asked her to send me the links. I’ve only watched one. But here is one of the videos she sent to me. It’s only 8 minutes long:

Tweeter @BexVangelical saw my tweet and watched the video and reported some serious concerns. I asked and was given permission to copy @BexVangelical’s tweet thread here. It’s good!

But first let me set the stage. In the video, Gungor draws a picture of a big heart and says, “We’ll call this the girl’s heart.” In this talk, he’s referring to a woman in a marriage, not a minor girl, but an adult woman. When is it ever appropriate to call a woman a girl? Do we call men, “boys?” No, we do not.

Below the heart, he draws a smaller smiley face which he refers to as “the place of happiness.” (I’m not sure whose happiness at this point.) The placement of the smiley face is important. It’s lower than the heart on the body. The title of this video is “A tail of two brains” so take a guess at what the smiley face refers to. Yeah, that . . a wife’s genitalia. Imagine being a woman sitting in his audience as he’s repeatedly pointing at the “smiley” face knowing what he’s referring to. Notice, there’s no picture of a penis. It’s all focused on girls women. Please note in BexVangelical’s tweets the heart and smiley face emojis and what they are really referring to.

See photo:

Mark Gungor drawing a smiley face which is really reference to a wife’s genitalia.

Thankfully, Bex VanGelical summarized important parts of the video so I don’t have to. I feel like I’m re-living my own trauma as I read her tweets. So brace yourself, survivors:


So, there’s that. But wait, there’s more . . . .

Sex Abuse Survivor Shares How Mark Gungor Responded to Her Personal Story

Last but not least, a woman named Lexi has come forward with a personal story of how Mark Gungor handled her sexual abuse case at his church, Celebration Church. Lexi was 17 years old in December of 2016 and says she was sexually assaulted by a 19- or 20-year old member of the church. Lexi told the church leadership, who then told her she’d need to meet with Mark Gungor and tell him.

Lexi and another survivor (same perpetrator) visited Mark Gungor and writes: “We explain what happened with Jim [abuser], and the first words out of Mark Gungor’s mouth were ‘what were you guys thinking?.'” Gungor told the other survivor she “should have known better than to get in the backseat of a car with him.” Can you say victim blaming? Ugh. His response was so inappropriate.

Needless to say, the response from Mark Gungor had a detrimental affect on Lexi. Lexi writes: “I have been diagnosed with PTSD from the assault and spiritual abuse I experienced at Celebration Church. I am permanently traumatized from my final experiences there. This affects my daily life and relationships.” 

Well, there you go. There is pastor and speaker on marriage and relationships, Mark Gungor. And I came out of blogging sabbatical to report this. Ho hum.

26 thoughts on “To Mark Gungor: There is Nothing Inspiring about using “Humor” to Publicly Degrade Women; and Please Do Better on Sex Abuse Cases”

  1. Yikes.

    Thank you for posting the summary because I could in no way make it through that video.

    Does this guy think it’s 1. True and 2. Helpful to proclaim that men want nothing from women but sex? And would in fact prefer a dog? Because if so what on earth is the point in trying to deal with men and why would I want to. It’s such a dark view of the relationships between men and women.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is sexualising boys who look to personality as the attraction. All boys are now frightened of the inevitability of becoming rapists. This sexualising began in my school when we were 14 (and I don’t mean the biology lesson). This sexualising came deliberately from authority – I’m not talking about our own tittle tattle. This was the Savile time (I couldn’t understand what didn’t look right, on that screen). I am so grateful to the pupils of Highgate and Dulwich Schools right now, they are standing up for me.

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  3. This man is absolutely and thoroughly disgusted and embarrassed by Mark Gungor’s tweets and “comedy.” He has no business pastoring a church or counseling anyone on the subject of marriage.

    Sadly, he’s not the only pastor who’s been bullying women on Twitter this week. Matt Kennedy, who is regrettably a priest in my denomination (Anglican Church in North America), bullied Kristin Du Mez this week by declaring she “is not a Christian” and she “affirms the blaspheming of marriage.” Now I’ll admit I have some disagreements with Dr. Du Mez, but she still deserves to be treated with respect. And just because I disagree with her doesn’t mean I question her salvation as Kennedy does.

    The next time members of the “Evangelical Industrial Complex” wonder why so many folks are leaving their churches and not coming back, they can thank pastors like Mark Gungor and Matt Kennedy. Such self-righteous spiritual bullies evidently could care less about the qualifications of an elder as listed in 1 Timothy 3, including qualifications such as “temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable” and “not a bully.” (NASB)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Singleman, great comment. One th
    ing that gets my dander up is when someone attempts to judge another’s salvation. That is the height of arrogance.

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  5. Thanks, Julie Anne.

    I forgot to mention that Matt Kennedy’s broadside against Kristin Du Mez came after his wife, Anne, published a critical review of Dr. Du Mez’s book, Jesus and John Wayne, at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s web site. How ironic that Anne Kennedy, also an ordained Anglican priest like her husband, published a review at a web site which frowns on ordained women like her. But that’s probably a discussion for another time.

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  6. If he had just ignored Sheila Gregoire’s comment or just given a mild response, he could have continued his money-making speaking gigs (where he puts down women the way he has for decades) without bringing any attention to himself. But instead he deleted her comment, and then he claimed she had insulted him.

    When various people asked what she had said, he couldn’t or wouldn’t say.

    Then he came unglued. He absolutely lost it, calling her names, misspelling her name multiple ways. He was off the rails.

    He called her “disgusting.” He defamed her by falsely claiming she’d been sued, implying she has legal problems. (She has not been sued.) He joined in and amplified another commenter’s sexual innuendo about her. When one of his fans called her a “pig,” he did nothing.

    Pastors like him give the loving, humble pastors a bad name.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. It is really shocking that people have let his type of humor and behavior slide for so long. To the extent I have followed what is going on with Sheila Wray Gregoire and her blog–I think people are displeased that she won’t stay in her lane. We have to have a place–be it her blog or twitter account–or somewhere else to discuss the disgusting behavior of these men. I’m shocked at how many in the evangelical community have a problem with SWG voicing her concerns in a public fashion—-but have no problem with the blatant misogyny of so many of these “Christian” men.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sheila’s work is phenomenal. She’s essentially uncovered that “Christian” men are using their wives as sex slaves with her extensive research. She is doing amazing work.

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  9. This morning I watched the Mark Gungor You Tube video that Julie Anne linked to above. I didn’t find it funny or enlightening in the least. I’d say it left me unimpressed, except that would be a significant understatement. At least the local church service I’m about to watch online should be far more uplifting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Using Bex Enagelicals slant on a YouTube clip is weak research. As well as using an unverified one sided account from Lexi. The man is not Jesus. He isn’t even a major church leader. He’s 1 pastor who has funny content and books. He is one of the few Christian pastors who says the church has a major problem with sexual abuse and perpetuating bad abusive marriages. He advocates for spouses to hold cheaters and abusers accountable.

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  11. “He advocates for spouses to hold cheaters and abusers accountable.“

    This whole thing started because he thinks not having sex with your partner is a form of cheating.

    The YouTube clips are freely available for one to watch.

    There are WAy too many pastors using crass ‘humor’ that puts women down in positions of church leadership. Let’s call them all out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gungor is just one of many, many fundagelical men who are scared shitless of the primal power of women. Over my adult lifetime, I’ve learned to celebrate it (primal power of women) and learn from it.
    What annoys me most is when guys like Gungor try to give their misogyny a ‘Biblical’ coat of paint, and then insist you’re not a ‘Christian’ if you won’t follow suit.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So utterly repulsive… The Scripture says, ‘Let there be NO coarse jesting or unholy talk’…
    Especially joking at the expense of someone’s sexuality is so wrong and disrespectful.
    If men only want to be married because of a ‘certain happy place’ aka a woman’s body part… they better off as single, having a replica of a woman’s body. (I don’t condone fake body parts, or human like sex dolls… but at least, it is better to abuse them, than taking advantage of actual human beings.)

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  14. I never knew human sexuality was so complicated and twisted until I became a christian. In my unbeliever days , I conducted myself as most young unregenerate men do. It was normal for me then. When Christ came into my life that all stopped and I committed myself to abstinence. What I was very unprepared for was the tremendous focus, to the point of obsession that some christian teachers / pastors have with respect to sex. None of my unbeliever friends were always bring it up like these christian pastors. This guy and his ” place of happiness ” illustration reminds me of some of the really stupid things I have heard preachers say about sex. I think these guys are using their position to indulge in what I call perversion play. They are obsessed with sex and it just starts becoming obvious in their messages. The double meaning silly jokes, the grafting of sex talk into messages that have nothing to do with it. One minute they are in 1st John and the next,” I was counseling this woman that was refusing to try anything other than vaginal sex and she was wondering why her marriage is in trouble. ” I’m setting there like where did that come from ????? Then the single conferences where these perverts get up and go on and on about sex and purity bla bla bla. You can see they have a problem, an obsession. I think MR. Place of happiness is one of these guys. I was watching that clip thinking this guy isn’t funny, he is kind of stupid acting. Kind of reminds me of that Wretched radio clown Todd Friel and his see how obnoxious you can be approach. Mark Driscoll was another one always with the sex talk, constantly. I’m really convinced these guys get their jollies pushing the envelope a bit and making people uncomfortable. Does sex really need to be discussed this much in church? Perhaps a couple with issues in that area should just see a sex therapist or marriage counselor.What makes these pastors experts on any of this ? I wonder if all the people laughing in that clip are really amused or just shocked and embarrissed and thus the nervous laughter.

    The last church I was in recently became an episode of the preachers boy podcast. The founding pastor was famous for sex talk from out of no where. He was also always harping on woman being submissive, dress standards and ” the place for women”. When I started going there he was long gone and I seldom had to tolerate his BS. His son had taken over and was , well more balanced it seemed. Then he resigned as his wife filed for divorce. Turns out the old holiness obsessed church founder had been raping his daughter n law for many years. His son and wife knew about it and kept it a secret. How is that for super weird. The founder is raping his daughter n law and the current pastor is visiting gay establishments.

    How twisted is this guy Mark Gungor ? I don’t know, but my experience is that these guys are hiding something. All the stupid little sexual things they say are a clue of hyper-patriarchal heresy, deep misogynistic beliefs or serious sexual sin. Often of a very abusive nature.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I lacked the discernment to catch these gross statements made by Mr Gunger.

    Thank you for this article and I praise God for His working in my heart and mind!

    I will pray for this misguided and dangerous teacher & the church to whom he serves.

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  16. Regarding the prevalence and influence of Mr.Gungor, I know my wife and I were presented with a copy of his videos last year. We made it through this lecture and maybe another before deciding we really weren’t getting anything out of it, and it really wasn’t Biblical at all. And part of it was like watching a Mel Brooks movie–that icky feeling when you know you’ve wasted an hour of your life listening to dirty jokes that you really ought not have listened to at all.

    To be honest, I’ve thrown out any number of books on relationships–I’ll spare you the names of the guilty authors and books here–for any number of reasons, generally centering on the theme of “honoring somebody’s half-baked theory over Scripture.” It can be really bleak out there.

    On the light side, while I’m proud of gently encouraging our gracious hostess to keep calling herself the “sheep lady blogger”, I must bow in awe to Mrs. Gregoire’s use of that insult from Gungor.

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  17. Well, from what I have just read I think this man’s ministry is thoroughly biblical.

    It’s easy to prove – look at Jude.

    For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed. … These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever.

    I particularly like the expression ‘fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead’. It really ought not be something that comes to mind when you look at modern evangelicalism.

    If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, its absence seems to be the beginning of folly.

    How did Adam and Eve cope without Tim and Beverley LaHaye, or a seminar, other books, CD’s, conferences and ministries (‘we accept all major credit cards’)? Is there really any need for this kind of stuff? Building at best a huge edifice on not much NT text.

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  18. And now for something completely different:

    I can’t read the name “Gungor” without thinking of Jar-Jar Binks.
    And I think I’d rather be around Jar-Jar than this Gungor.

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  19. “I was counseling this woman that was refusing to try anything other than vaginal sex and she was wondering why her marriage is in trouble. ” I’m setting there like where did that come from ?????

    An unwanted look into Pastor’s own Sexual Kinks, where else?
    Probably with a generous side helping of Pornography.

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  20. I’m shocked at how many in the evangelical community have a problem with SWG voicing her concerns in a public fashion

    I’m not.
    In two words: SHE UPPITY.

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  21. This guy represents the worst of the 80’s comedic hackery that was spawned by the Focus on the Family/Moral Majority movements that identified the western evangelical church as a marketplace desperate for a way to enjoy the raunchiness of the secular entertainers of the day but still be able to maintain their piety because their weren’t any of those “dirty words” being spoken. College para-church groups foisted this garbage on us as well,with Josh McDowell being a prime beneficiary with his “Why Wait?” lecture tours.

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