(David) It seems to me that modern and ancient treatments of the Song of Solomon almost always fall entirely on one side or the other of a very broad spectrum of potential approaches.
Some (mostly ancient preachers and commentators) view the Song of Solomon almost entirely allegorically. They look at Song of Solomon and see only Christ, His love for His Bride and His Bride's love for Him and nothing at all of human romance or sexual union.
Others (mostly modern preachers and commentators) get all squirrely over the obviously sexual nature of the book and forget metaphor altogether in preaching and teaching from it.
No one ever seems to square the circle by fully acknowledging both the sex and the metaphor at the heart of Song of Solomon. Either it's Song of Solomon as sex manual taught by giggly-eyed graduates of the Young Life school of theology for whom any mention of sex serves the same function as the bell with Pavlov's dogs, or it's a droning dissertation on Jesus that has little to do with the actual text of Song of Solomon.
So when I read somewhere of John MacArthur's recent criticisms of preachers who speak of sex too much, I dismissed it as one school attacking the other. Frankly, I was fairly confident I'd prefer Mark Driscoll's take on Song of Solomon to John MacArthur's.
But this post in Mere Comments (thanks, Kamilla) about Mark Driscoll's preaching from the Song of Solomon is disturbing, if accurate. If Mark has divorced the pleasures of sex from the purpose of sex, as it appears he does in giving approval to sexual acts devoid of--in fact, preclusive of--procreative intent, he has become an apologist for one of the characteristic sins of our age.
It's hard to preach with integrity from Song of Solomon while maintaining a bluenosed resistance to speaking about romance, wooing, arousal and sexual union from the pulpit. In fact, it's tragic failure to preach God's truth in an area our world --and our children--need to hear it proclaimed. Song of Solomon is about these good things and our children need to hear this and know it. But it's more: it's sex and desire sanctified, given reason and meaning.
To hear preaching from the Song of Solomon faithful to both sides of the metaphor, listen to these sermons being preached this summer by Dr. Robert Forney in evening services at Christ the Word. Dr. Forney squares the circle on Song of Solomon. His preaching not only demonstrates why John MacArthur is wrong in criticizing talk of sex from the pulpit, he preaches about Christ from Song of Solomon in a way Mark Driscoll will forever be incapable of so long as he denies the fundamentally procreative nature of sex in God's economy.