December 15, 2017

“Esau” Christianity? Douglas Wilson Needs a Bible Study

Douglas Wilson has declared war on wuss worship.

Last July, Mark Driscoll, another purveyor of  what I will call from now on “Esau Christianity,” tweeted this offensive message: “So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?” prompting Rachel Held Evans to call him out as a bully. She had her readers initiate a letter campaign to Mars Hill so that people could voice their objections to his tasteless and insulting remarks.

Douglas Wilson must have read Driscoll’s tweet and decided to collect examples over the past ten months, because now he has come out with a post of his own, listing eleven reasons your church worship service might be effeminate.

This is one of the more misguided and mean-spirited pieces I’ve read in awhile. This whole idea of “masculine Christianity” that some among the neo-Reformed and others are promoting these days is so off-base I can’t believe anyone falls for it. Most of our concepts of “masculinity” and “femininity” are time-bound social and cultural constructs and have nothing to do with being “biblical” (there is that terribly misused word again) or representing a vital and rigorous faith.

Its purveyors may be as clueless as Esau was.

Wilson objects, for example, to the church staff member who is “wearing a clerical collar and a powder pink shirt,” and the minister who wears “a robe, but the effect is not that of being robed for battle.” This, of course, is manifestly silly. I’ve never seen any minister wear a robe for the effect of being “robed for battle” — even the most severe Calvinist looks like a professor at a graduation ceremony to me. But one of the whole points of a robe is to hide the personality of the wearer, not accentuate masculinity or any other trait.

In addition, one of the liturgical traditions Wilson is poking fun at here, the Anglican Church, wears apparel that bespeaks traditions of royal protocol — kings and courts and castles and such. The Anglican liturgy itself is a study in British courtly manners. Likewise in that culture, British attorneys and judges wear powdered wigs and ruffled shirts (as, by the way, did our own Founding Fathers) out of the same traditions. Royal decorum may seem overly fancy to the Esaus of the world, but it is certainly not effeminate. It testifies to authority and regality as well as the pageantry, color, and festivity that is worthy of honoring a King.

Wilson is also critical of what he perceives to be wimpy worship music and bemoans the lack of militant music, songs that contain “references to judgment, wrath, battles, enemies, Hell, the devil, or apostasy.” He condemns musicians who are “more concerned that the choir trills their r’s correctly than that they fill the sanctuary with loud sounds of battle,” and berates worship teams who present “‘Jesus is my girlfriend’ songs, and their facial expressions while up front are those of guys in the backseats of their cars, having just gotten to second base with their actual girlfriends.” Once again, he completely misses the point.

The problem with today’s worship music has nothing to do with it being effeminate. In fact, there are plenty of contemporary songs, especially growing out of pentecostal, charismatic, and third-wave groups, that use divine warfare and battle imagery. And, on the other hand, if Wilson really knew the music of Bach (which he commends in this list), he would realize that many of the texts Bach set to music for his cantatas reflect a mystical piety that is filled with extremely intimate expressions of feeling, bordering on the erotic and “feminine.”

No, the problem is not that today’s worship music is effeminate. Much of it is shallow and sentimental, that I will grant. Many songs are marked by horrid poetry, for sure. A great deal of it is virtually unsingable and musically vacuous, yes. I too miss singing robust, content-rich hymns, but not because they reflect a “masculine” element that is missing in today’s church. Rather, it is because they express profound thoughtfulness about the meaning of the Biblical story, rich musical textures and excellent poetry that engage my mind and inspire me to think better and feel more deeply about Christ and what he has done in inaugurating God’s Kingdom through his saving work. Masculinity? No. Depth. Yes.

I also have no idea what Douglas Wilson is talking about when he includes the following in his list of “effeminate” worship: “The sermons rarely deal with sin or, if they do, they deal with sins found outside the sanctuary…” and “The church does not practice church discipline, and not because everybody in the church is behaving. They won’t practice it because the elders are misbehaving.” What does this have to do with effeminacy in worship? Dealing with sin and practicing discipline are “masculine” characteristics? Don’t tell my mom, or the nuns I know.

What is clear is that Wilson exudes a deep distrust and contempt for women in this post.  What he says sounds nothing like the way Jesus or Paul related to their sisters and partners in the Gospel. For instance, he throws out the old canard about women conspiring to form a “shadow government” behind the scenes in order to function as illicit leaders in the congregation. Believe me, after serving as a pastor for more than 25 years, I’ve had as much trouble with masculine guys as with scheming women. But Wilson would have us believe that, if only the church’s male members would “man up” and take control over the vexatious vixens among us, we would see the church functioning as it should. You might want to ask the leadership at Mars Hill or Sovereign Grace Ministries how that’s working. Better yet, ask the women in those groups.

Furthermore, he suggests that restoring “masculinity” to worship will reach men and by doing so, we will “reach the women.” Indeed, by making worship more masculine we will “include them, bring them along, and make them feel safe.” In other words, women are not worthy of our direct attention. They are followers and meant to be followers. They must be attached to a man and “brought along” by men in the church. They are vulnerable and must be made to “feel safe” because they cannot (should not) stand on their own as full and free citizens in the Kingdom of heaven. Every Eve needs an Esau to protect her.

I’m thinking that what Douglas Wilson needs is a Bible study.

And won’t he be hacked off to discover that when God wanted to found a nation, he chose Jacob, the effeminate, namby-pamby mama’s boy over Esau, his manly, rugged, outdoorsy brother? It goes against everything he apparently believes about the masculine flavor of the faith.

Think of it, at the time God had two possible choices for who would become “Israel,” the founder of his First Testament people: Esau, or Jacob. “When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Gen. 25:27-28). In Wilson’s categories, Esau was “masculine,” Jacob “effeminate.”

  • Jacob stayed inside and cooked, while Esau went out to the field and hunted.
  • Jacob was a mama’s boy who participated in his mother’s schemes, while Esau was doing manly things on behalf of his father.
  • Jacob had to be protected from Esau by his mother and he ran away from home in fear when his older brother got mad at him.
  • Jacob went to his uncle’s house and worked for him. He was so weak and clueless that his uncle Laban took constant advantage of him and made him into his virtual slave for years.
  • Jacob was so much of a wimp that he didn’t even recognize Laban had switched women on him on his wedding night!
  • Jacob was hen-pecked by his wives Rachel and Leah and did whatever they said when they wanted children.
  • Jacob tricked his uncle to get back at him and then had to run away in fear again. Laban chased him and would have whupped up on him, but God warned him against that.
  • When Jacob returned to the land, he was shaking in his boots in fear that Esau was going to get his revenge and kill him.

    Joseph's Coat brought to Jacob, Ferrari

  • Jacob became “Israel” when he lost a wrestling match with a stranger. Clinging and crippled, he prevailed!
  • Jacob was a weak father. He showed favoritism to one of his sons, Joseph, made him his own special robe (that really sounds effeminate, doesn’t it?), and protected him at home while his brothers were out doing the men’s work of tending flocks.
  • Jacob’s own sons knew their father was weak, and so they tricked him into thinking Joseph had been killed, driving Jacob into grief and depression.
  • In place of Joseph, Jacob then became overly protective of his youngest son, Benjamin, clinging to the boy lest he lose him too.
  • At the end of his life, Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons, crossing his hands and pronouncing the blessing on the younger son, to signify that God does not favor the firstborn or the strong, but chooses the unlikely.

Jacob the wimp, the mama’s boy, the effeminate one, the scaredy-cat, weak and insecure and ineffective — that’s who God chose to become Israel, the father of his old covenant people. Esau, the man’s man, the outdoorsman, the man of strength and muscle, the warrior who was unafraid of hard work or a fight didn’t make the cut. The very name of God’s chosen community is bound up with the story of an effeminate weakling!

In fact, when I think about it, I can’t think of too many men who are held up before us as “masculine” heroes in the First Testament. Abraham fought when his idiot nephew Lot needed to be rescued, but he was man of peace who had woman and family problems, including being willing to give up his own wife to another man twice rather than protect her. Caleb and Joshua led the conquest of Canaan, but it’s hard for me to think God was glorifying their manliness or military skills when the whole point of the Book of Joshua is that the Lord fought for them and they only did the clean up. The Book of Judges, of course, is filled with adventure stories of “sheriffs” who ruled Israel in their “Wild West” days. But the big message of the book is that every single one of them was deeply flawed and therefore unqualified to lead all Israel. I’d hate to think those promoting “masculine Christianity” would look to the days of Judges as exemplary! Of those who lived back then, who would you want as a male role model, Samson who was known for his strength or Boaz who was known for his hesed (kindness and love)?

Probably the one character who might be held up as a “masculine” model is David. However, the Samuel narratives (especially in light of the Psalms) encourage us to think of him on balance more as the suffering king than the conquering king. And even David’s conquering — his participation in “judgment, wrath, battles, enemies;” his conflicts with “Hell, the devil, [and] apostasy,” to use Wilson’s terms, disqualified him from building the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. God said that was to be done by a man of peace, not a warrior.

Let’s turn to the New Testament and discuss the Founder of the Church, the new covenant community whose worship Wilson writes about. You know Who I’m talking about:

  • The One who was also a “Mama’s boy.” Scripture tells us he had an honorable, strong earthly father, but it gives little indication that Joseph was in Jesus’ life after age twelve.
  • The One who never married or raised a family, countering the overwhelming expectations about masculinity in his culture and religion.
  • The One who found his identity in being “meek and humble of heart.”
  • The One who would “not break a bruised reed or quench a smouldering wick” to win the victory.
  • The One who shattered all the expectations of his culture regarding women by speaking to them, including them among his followers, deeming them learners and disciples on an equal level with men, and treating them as individuals not merely as appendages attached to males. Indeed, he let women provide for him during his ministry.
  • The One who taught his followers not to fight or even resist their enemies, but instead to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile, to return love for enmity, prayer for unjust treatment.
  • The One who said leadership in God’s Kingdom does not mirror the “masculine,” militant character of leadership in the world, where power over others is the operative method.
  • The One who wept over those who rejected him and likened himself to a mother hen lamenting that she could not gather her chicks under her wings.
  • The One who himself did not resist his opponents, but “When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly…”
  • The One who served to save us, who died to deliver us, who laid down his life as our model of leadership.

Proponents of “masculine” Christianity like to counter these points by evoking images of Jesus’ Second Coming in Revelation and elsewhere. Jesus may have shown humility and forbearance in his earthly ministry, they say, but he will come again with a sword to wreak wrath and vengeance on his enemies as a great Warrior King.

These are powerful images, and there is a place for them in our Christian imagination and worship. However, it seems to me that Wilson and those like him miss the whole issue of genre when it comes to reading these texts. Much of this holy war and spiritual conflict imagery appears in apocalyptic literature, which uses mythological and symbolic representations that are highly dramatized and sensationalistic. Or, it may show up in Psalms or prophetic oracles that use heightened poetic language for dramatic effect.

When we read these texts, we are being called to participate imaginatively in fantastic, mind-blowing visions of transformative events that have not yet come to pass and which no one can begin to comprehend. But when we study the stories of Jacob or Jesus, we are reading historical narratives and can be sure the authors intend us to learn at ground level from the characters that inhabit them. If we take these stories seriously, we find no indication that God has some “masculine” standard for men or “feminine” standard for women. The Story of the Bible is not about that! Whatever clues we get about the historical periods and cultures behind these narratives, Scripture never prescribes their ancient expectations for “masculinity” or “femininity” as norms for our lives. In fact, as I’ve attempted to show in my brief overview from the lives of a few prominent characters, the Bible often highlights those who shattered the cultural expectations of identity and behavior in their own places and times.

So, I’m sorry Douglas Wilson, but “Esau Christianity” simply will not fly.

There is room for all types of men and women in the Body of Christ, its worship and its mission. No standard of “masculinity” or “femininity” needs to be upheld or promoted.

Each person may have his or her own preferences and likes and dislikes, of course, and that’s where we should learn to appreciate our differences on these manifestly non-essential matters, and not act like bullies or snobs toward one another.

 

Comments

  1. I look forward to hearing the discussion about this later today. It seems as if “masculine Christianity” and compliementarism are being pushed more and more. Some of this is no doubt due to changing roles in society, and soceity moving in directions that previounsly were not thought of. However, some is also a knee jerk reaction to that change. In the past you could control women..today not so much. Well….except in church.

    I’ve heard more than enough talks that if guys dealt with lust women needed to dress more “modestly” I thought it low, and that it removes responsibility. I also find it highly disrespectufl and a cheap shot toward women. This is a question for another time…but maybe it turns the tables and shows the fallacy in that line of thinking. If a guy is dealing with homosexuality…do men need to dress more? Cover themself up?

    But in the end I would suggest that much of this “masculine Christinaity” is about control. And the ability to control others. That is what is frightening. And I wonder if this “masculine Christianity” combined wih authorterianism plays out if there will be an uptick or increase in Christian rapes, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, etc..

    Lastly (and I don’t have my Bible with me…as I need to get to bed) but didn’t Paul warn about needless division? There are so many stories in the Bible of women being used. Look at Rehab, Esther, Mary Magdaline, Mary, etc.. I would like to see Esther attend one of these “masculine churches” whoever they might be. Tim Challis, Mark Driscoll, etc..

    Better yet…I’d love to see Margaret Thatcher attend! 😛

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      It seems as if “masculine Christianity” and compliementarism are being pushed more and more.

      Complementarism = “ME MAN! ME WANT FILL-IN-THE-BLANK! YOU WOMAN! YOU SHUT UP! GOD HATH SAID!”

      Some of this is no doubt due to changing roles in society, and soceity moving in directions that previounsly were not thought of. However, some is also a knee jerk reaction to that change. In the past you could control women..today not so much. Well….except in church.

      There’s also a dynamic involved called “Displacement Behavior”. When everything is spiraling out of control and you’re being overwhelmed from every side, there’s this deep urge to find something you CAN control and micromanage it to death. Like a company enforcing dress codes (even to the point of having VPs with rulers measuring employee hair length) while circling the drain. (Actually happened where I work some 30 years ago.)

  2. At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s no accident that these ideas are being floated at a time when gender roles in the wider society are undergoing transformation. Feminism has become the new normal, in the sense that people (generally men) who oppose it are looked at askance, while gay rights has become the new frontier in civil rights. In this light, hyper-masculine rhetoric becomes a kind of code signalling political positions which it is hazardous to openly espouse. We heard the same sort of talk from churches like this during the civil rights movement.

    • Dan Crawford says:

      I think something even more insidious is at work here and we see in evangelical circles obsessed with Republican politics: What is a matter of dispute among these Christians is whether traditional Christian values, compassion, mercy, reverence for one another, mutual forbearance, and love are relevant at all. They have replaced them with the love of power, fawning on oligarchs, contempt for the poor, the sick and the powerless, and celebrity religion. In every instance, they have absorbed and espoused the various idolatries of the world. Attacking “feminization” is a great big smokescreen.

      This is not to say that some of what they criticize shouldn’t be criticized – but not because it’s “feminine” – it too is idolatry but of a different kind than the idolatry of Wilson, Driscoll, Land, Copeland, Graham, Podles, and the miserable offenders.

    • I think this hits the nail on the head.

      It may also be worth noting that an earlier generation of fundamentalists were decrying theological liberalism as “effeminate” and the defense of the Christian orthodoxy as requiring a kind on manly courage. Battle metaphors abounded. No doubt this had a lot to do with general cultural fears about first-wave feminism, including the rise of female leaders within major Protestant denominations around the time of the “fundamentalist-modernist” controversies.

      Meanwhile, mainline denominations were worried that American religion had become too female-dominated as well, and pastors too gentile and pasty. That fear, in turn, had a lot to do with a crisis in the definition of what it meant to be a “man” in the early decades of the twentieth century. (Enter: Teddy Roosevelt as hero.) Anyway, the result was a big push for the promotion of sports and vigorous masculinity in the emerging bastions of the contemporary mainline.

  3. Chaplain Mike,

    I wonder if this emphasis on Masculine Christianity is in part an over-reaction to the feminisation of the church (perceived or otherwise)?

    The problem as I observe with this reaction is that because it has over reacted, it has become Machismo Christianity rather than Masculine Christianity.

    • Agreed…

      It is machismo toward women……

      As well as, I think, a deep seated fear of their own feminine side that could feel like, heaven FORBID, latent homosexuality.

      So, double down on the hyper-manly trappings and speech to prove it to…..themselves?

      • I’m sure both of those are part of it. I’d also say that there are more than a few Walter Mittys in the church.

        • Josh in FW says:

          Who is Walter Mitty?

          • Character from a book by James Thurber, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. He’s an ineffectual dreamer who compensates for an unsatisfying life with hyper-puissant fantasies.

          • Pocketa, pocketa, pocketa

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Character from a book by James Thurber…

            Actually a short story. And for 50 years or so, “Walter Mitty” became the term for a nobody who becomes The World’s Greatest Hero in his daydreams.

    • Josh in FW says:

      Agreed
      This is an example of why I read the comments before making my own. There are so many good commentators here that the idea I want to express is often expressed by others in a much more articulate manner than I would have been able to express.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The problem as I observe with this reaction is that because it has over reacted, it has become Machismo Christianity rather than Masculine Christianity.

      No, Joshua, it has become MALE SUPREMACIST Christianity.

      How long before God’s Anointed issue fatwas on the Godly way to beat your wife?

  4. Hmmm , i guess soon christian men will have to have long beards & refrain from wearing silk & must not wear pants to long. And they should cut out the feminine music & instead should write about Isa Al-masih and his destruction of Masih Ad-Dajjal. The men must fight for the glory of Allah!

    ..sigh…Christian Islam strikes again..

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The blogger over at Onward, Forward, Toward coined the term “Christlam” for this.

      And it has a similar dynamic. Reaction to Future Shock by going into more and more extreme forms of the faith tradition. Even the Culture War dynamic — take over and force everything into a Godly Golden Age (with US on top), a Perpetual Year One of the Hegira.

      For when conditions change drastically and Future Shock hits, there are only three courses of action:
      1) Adapt to the new conditions (hopefully without losing what makes you You).
      2) Die out, unable to adapt.
      3) Force everything to change back to The Way It Was; force THEM to adapt to Our One True Way.

  5. CM,

    This frightens me. I hear very little gospel for women. I get the impression that sure Christ died for me but the man has to explain it to me and then when I die, the men will have some headship over me and then Christ will have headship over them. Where does this come from? I have grown up around the revivalistic SBC all my life but I have never heard search until now.

    • This is just a variation on a theme so don’t let it rattle you too much Robin. If you read and listen to the men who are promoting this they clearly have a limited view of women probably linked to their own culture and upbringing. Scripture is used to back up their ‘pop psychology’ on gender issues. The women they know best have had to collude with this viewpoint for decades to protect themselves. Such men seem to be genuinely scared of allowing women out of the box they have constructed for us so, as that box is being torn away, their anger increases and the rhetoric gets louder to bully all those who disagree (both genders) into line. At least that is my conclusion from following this debate over the years.

      (Just for the record and specifically for all those complementarians reading this, I know that you don’t all think of women in this warped way – there are plenty of complementarians who don’t have daft views about the genders on their mind all the time and who genuinely do base their theology on how they read the Bible – I just happen to disagree with your interpretation of it – I would hate you to think I am tarring you all with the same brush.)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        (Just for the record and specifically for all those complementarians reading this, I know that you don’t all think of women in this warped way …)

        Take it from the guy with 20+ years in-country in Furry Fandom:

        THE X-TREME CRAZIES/LUNATIC FRINGE HAVE THIS WAY OF DEFINING EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING IN THE GROUP. Whether in the perception of outsiders or actual attempts to forcibly share their obsession/lunacy.

  6. Update: The same site now has a link to Driscoll’s response, which I would summarize as follows: “Gee whiz, gender issues sure are tough and controversial these days, what with all them newfangled Bible translations and openly gay preachers and crazy Europeans with their unisex children. Buy my book!”

    • I’d have been disappointed if they hadn’t blamed the Europeans, but they forgot to blame the 1960s. Gotta blame the ’60s; that’s when original sin (and socialism) started.

      Come to think of it, Obama was born in the ’60s.

  7. Am I the only one that , finds it at least slightly probable that one of the hyper-calvinists may end up converting to islam? Somedays I wonder..

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Yeah. I’ve wondered the same thing. Why drink Predestination and God’s Will and Male Supremacy and Culture War Jihad watered-down when you could be drinking it straight on the rocks with the Wahabi, Salafi, and Talibani?

  8. Joseph (the original) says:

    CM: where do you find these guys???

    i did a quick search for something more about Douglas Wilson & he is a very controversial figure although a quite prolific writer/author…

    certainly not someone i would wish to read or consider authoritative, but he is certainly one of strong convictions…

    i have enough issues of life i must deal with on a daily basis. those of a more educated/academic position feeling they are, “a voice of one calling in the desert…”, simply adding to the already uncomfortable cacophony championing their viewpoint/cause/insight/theories/fixes, etc.

    {sigh}

    his viewpoints are going to tickle ears. he will have an audience. he may even have fans engaging in this post defending their hero & his ‘biblical’ rants…

    Lord, have mercy… 🙁

    • I went to a private high school modeled on another school (“Logos”), and our schooling style was advocated for /invented by Doug Wilson. There were parts I liked, such as a liberal arts basis that exposed me to logic, rhetoric, and lots of really great literature, but that was balanced with a sciences curriculum he had authorized (written by Bob Jones University, where “theistic evolution is a slippery slope”), a history class he wrote one truly vile book for (“Southern Slavery as it Was”, basically arguing slavery created friendship between the races), and having a theology class that leaned towards his pet brand of reformed thought.

      So I, for one, rejoice every time he opens his mouth to spew out more nonsense. If not for outposts like IM, highschooler Kero might have bought it wholesale.

      • This is the same Douglas Wilson who wrote “Southern Slavery as it Was”? Wow. I always thought there were different people. Does Wilson still support the ideas in that essay/book? I read it and found it to be a Christian defense of neo-confederate nonsense. i had no idea that this was the same Douglas Wilson. Now I like him even less…

  9. I could almost sympathize with some of Wilson’s points if gender were completely removed from the equation. Substitute “effeminate” or “girly” with “cowardly” and “wimpy,” and we have an article that makes a bit more sense.

  10. Aidan Clevinger says:

    Great piece Chaplain – and I say that as an evil complimentarian. I agree wholeheartedly that the post you referenced was offensive and chauvinistic, and you made really excellent points about the biblical record of who God used for His plans. For me, the headship of the man over the woman is a headship of service and self-sacrifice. If men really are to be to their wives as Christ is to the Church, then we have to consider that Christ GIVES to His Church constantly through Word and Sacrament, and that even His rebukes are meant to drive us to those two things. So a man’s leadership should consist of the same thing: self-sacrifical service and tender care for his wife’s needs, even at the cost of his own comfort, reputation as a “manly man”, or pride. If I might cop out and quote C.S. Lewis: “The sternest feminist need not begrudge my sex the crown offered to it in either the Pagan or the Christian mysteries, for the one is of paper and the other of thorns”.

  11. Jack Heron says:

    Leaving aside the main issue for now (I’m still trying to work up the appropriate way to express my rage), which Chaplain Mike has dealt with excellently, I have to ask: does Douglas Wilson know any history at all? Has he even, possibly, looked at the pictures in a children’s history book? For instance:

    – In late 18th century Europe, the dandies (ie. makeup, powdered hair, flamboyant clothes) were considered hyper-masculine.
    – The ‘manly figure’ much in vogue in the middle 16th century was formless and gown-draped.
    – The early Romans thought trousers effeminate.

    21st century Americans do not set the standard for men throughout history.

    • Don’t forget about how Christinaity would take young male men and casterate them to make sorporanos becuase women couldn’t sing. It was thought that men should do the the singing…this was outlawed by the late 1800’s. But went on for a few centuries…and YES Christianity was involved in this also….

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/rcccast.htm

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Ah, yes. The Castrati.

        Over 90% failure rate (either castration survival or voice training), all because “Women shall keep silent in church.” And my own denomination was in the forefront of it. (But then, my own denomination was also one of the late adopters when it came to ending slavery, though not so late as some.)

  12. ENGLAND 2012- April
    In less than 20 years the church (some say less) the church will have no men in the church, Save homosexuals.
    In general men only follow men, or women acting like men.
    All the arging means nothing. Get back to God’s male leadership in church and home. NOW. Or we die.
    All this arguing means nothing….I am living in the gathering death…I see it everyday…
    All this arguing means nothing…..Change or die.

    • Christianity was in decline in England long before women were being put in charge of churches and it was men who took us there.
      In fact, when the men were solely in charge, Christian allegiance was mostly about a legalistic expectation of outward conformity not as a result of a convicted choice.
      Happily now, those who are members, imperfect though we are, actually believe in something as opposed to doing something for form’s sake. We may be fewer in number but we may well be more potent.
      It’s a shame you won’t recognise the work of the Holy Spirit and seek only to criticise those men and women who hold steadfast to the faith.

      • I’ve heard it compared to the collapse of Communism.

        • Then ladies, in the coming years, do enjoy your tiny little church of kids under 8, run by women and homosexuals.
          P.S. If this is the work of the Holy Spirit, then some might suggest He is doing a pretty crap job.

          • You sound a bit bitter, Victor.

          • The truth of the situation in Britain is our churches are dead and closing doors. Good grief, most of the church buildings are up for sale! Every Christian charity is scrambling for money (apparantly men used to give when they were in churches) The C of E has become the nest to every foul spirit from the pit of hell…….and…… sigh…….oh forget it….like I said….it makes no difference now. It’s over….Mind you the muslims are doing well..I understand their fastest growing converts are indigenous white women? I wonder why that is?

          • Sorry Victor but you sound more than a tad unbalanced here – and out of touch with the UK scene generally – which is weird as, apparently you are based in the UK.
            You have also failed to address the points I make about the historic decline and resorted to cheap jibes. Surely you can do better than that.
            Btw I would never say the Holy Spirit is doing a crap job – not even in jest. You may not understand what the Spirit is doing but that is an entirely different matter.

          • Victor, there was a moment when the Church was reduced to four women and one man at the foot of the Cross, all the ‘manly’ disciples having run away. Of course, the reason fluffy-bunny denominations like us Catholics mention women’s names in the Canon of the Mass is because we want to emphasise how girly and soft we all should be, and certainly not think of martyrdom in the arena by wild beasts – after all, Ss. Perpetua and Felicity just shrieked and swooned away at the very notion of being scourged, exposed to the jeers of the crowd, having wild beasts set upon them and then being slain by inexperienced swordsmen who made a hash of it, not like their fellow-prisoners who were real manly men:

            “Felicitas, who was eight months pregnant, was apprehensive that she would not be permitted to suffer martyrdom with the others, since the law forbade the execution of pregnant women, but two days before the games she gave birth to a daughter, who was adopted by a Christian woman. On the day of the games, the five were led into the amphitheatre. At the demand of the crowd they were first scourged; then a boar, a bear, and a leopard, were set on the men, and a wild cow on the women. Wounded by the wild animals, they gave each other the kiss of peace and were then put to the sword. “But Perpetua, that she might have some taste of pain, was pierced between the bones and shrieked out; and when the swordsman’s hand wandered still (for he was a novice), herself set it upon her own neck. Perchance so great a woman could not else have been slain (being feared of the unclean spirit) had she not herself so willed it.” So ends the Acta.”

            I wish the post would strip out the language of ‘effeminancy’ and instead replace it with ‘conformed to the Zeitgeist‘, as that would make more sense and not offend half the population of the planet, for whom Christ was born, suffered, died and rose again to save just as much as the XY chromosome-bearers.

    • Hmmm… I work for a small company that’s owned by two women, and as far as I can tell I haven’t turned gay yet. Thanks, for the pointer, though, I’ll keep my guard up…

      Actually, if you take a look at some of the fastest growing churches in the world, they’re pentecostal congregations that historically haven’t had any problem with women in leadership. I think your argument bears no relevance to the actual truth of the situation.

      • NO, I am not bitter Mike. I am in despair. Utter despair. I am sat in a Nero’s Cafe in London, surrounded by men that will never go to church. I know my gender and I know my culture. Men need men to follow. Women will follow either, but much prefer a strong man. I reckon that’s why God sent His Son and not His daughter. All these men around me right now…..not one would come to church and one of the main reasons is its nanciness.

        I am lastly disappointed in myself for getting drawn into this utterly fruitless arguement. Whilst the church continues to argue about who leads it and who they can have sex with, God’s plain order is gazzumped with a little green plastic house of the this charlattan churches own making, whose edges are so sharp edged by political correctness, that it would have my testicles off in the blink of an eye and use them as earings.

        Like I say, all this talk does not matter. The way is set. The end of the church in England is nigh.

        No, I’m not bitter Mike….but like the VAST majority of my gender…….. I am walking away from the whole sorry mess in utter despair.

        • Last reply….. No Ali.. I am in touch. Last year I toured each of our 66 Cities in 66 Days preachign from each of the 66 Books of the Bible. And NOT in churches. i carried out 200-300 video interviews from crack cocaine addicts to the former head of the British army. From Bishops the Mayors, from the man and woman on the street to a few in the pews as well, I have Pastored several churches, and spoken widely in what’s left of what we call men’s ministry in this country…… I write for some pretty big Christian organisations and am reaonably well connected at high levels……and current with it…… I ftherefore feel that I am pretty well ‘in touch’. (www.66cities.org) . Unless we radically and in a revolutionary way get back to male headship in church and home….then all is lost., Even non believers know this.

          • I also canlt type or spell!
            Turrah!

          • Victor I’m sorry but I cannot disagree strongly enough. I’ve been in plenty of churches led by men and machismo types still avoided them like the plague. As one commenter stated earlier anthropological answers won’t solve spiritual problems. After all the early church didn’t form militaristic style churches to reach Romans, did they?

          • Victor, you may want to do a search on Gavin Calver, a fellow Brit. He had an article in Christian Times on line entitled “God is Not Done With Britain Yet” which may make you think. I know Gavin and I know his father Clive Calver personally.

        • Some of your gender but not all! Not by a long stretch of the imagination! Men took the church to the place where it is now – get your head out of the sand and acknowledge the truth of that before you start blaming women for something they haven’t done.
          For the record, this might come as a surprise to you, but neither women and men want to follow a strong man at all – they want to follow Jesus and go where the Holy Spirit is leading. Our hope lies in Christ not in those He calls to lead.
          Which is why you shouldn’t walk away just yet Victor. See where God wants to take you next – it’s His church not ours and He has not abandoned us!
          Anyway, why don’t you start a missional community in Nero’s for men? Sounds like you have a congregation in the making there!

    • “In general men only follow men, or women acting like men.”

      Sorry, but at least here in the states, female leadership in management has grown. In my 30 something year career, I have had a majority of female management. This line is an old bugaboo that men will only follow the lead of men. In truth, men will follow who ever leads, especially if they lead well.

  13. Great Bible study – I love the way that God turns all our human expectations of who should lead, prosper, know Him etc completely upside down.

  14. Sigh. If he wants to go to a church that wears battle dress every Sunday, he should go to the Salvation Army. A really good, traditional, Blood and Fire Corps that meets several times a week to fire volleys and storm the forts of darkness.

    Then he’d realise how silly it is to take that idea to its logical conclusion.

    • At least they help the poor.

    • The Salvation Army also have some amazing women preachers. Capt. Danielle Strickland was the main speaker for Spring Harvest (Probably the UK’s biggest interdenominational evangelical event) a while back – very impressive. I cannot imagine telling a woman like that that, that she should not be using her God given gift because she’s the “wrong” gender.

  15. As much as I agree with the broad sweep of this article, I think it’s worth pointing out again for clarity’s sake that Jacob’s scheming, deceitful, ‘effeminate’, weakling nature isn’t held up as any more positive than Esau’s brutish ‘masculinity’. God’s (s)election of Jacob, or indeed of any other OT hero of faith, is by his sovereign grace and to forshadow Christ, the God-Man who perfectly fills the form of the true Israel.

  16. Doug Wilson seems to have a pretty common affliction among middle-aged men. I watched my father go through it (and grow out of it) in his 40s. This is a great article, CM, and one that’s needed to be written for a long time.

    • REAL men have nothing to prove, except maybe to their wives!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Doug Wilson seems to have a pretty common affliction among middle-aged men.

      You mean what I’ve heard called “Hardening of the Attitudes”?

  17. Has everybody heard this song? “Man Up,” from The Book of Mormon musical:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1n_1jmKpu4

  18. Robin Vestal says:

    Wow….if masculine means violence, brute force and disregard for others then it does have no place in Christianity. Luckily it seems to me that another model of what it means to be a man was shown to us by Christ. Compassion, service, seeing all people as equal in the eyes of God. Hanging on to this violent vision and teaching it seems to take us farther away from loving our enemies, forgiving those who wrong us and turning the other cheek..farther still from the servant model of leadership and doing onto the least of these.
    I think I would just ignore these guys as a fringe group yet in the larger society context of increasing legislation to control women (prosecuting women who have had stillborn children, having pregnancy start before sex, personhood of the ovum) it is worrisome.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Wow….if masculine means violence, brute force and disregard for others then it does have no place in Christianity.

      What they’re talking about is not masculinity but something called “Hypermasculinity”. I first came across the term in a reprint of a 1943 OSS Intelligence/Psych Profile of a certain A.Hitler. Basically, it means defining “masculine” as dominance and aggression — “violence, brute force, and disregard for others” — burning out all else with a white-hot iron, and firewalling what’s left to the max.

      I think I would just ignore these guys as a fringe group yet in the larger society context of increasing legislation to control women (prosecuting women who have had stillborn children, having pregnancy start before sex, personhood of the ovum) it is worrisome.

      Remember that other characteristic of Hypermasculinity: DOMINATION. POWER.

  19. Wow, great post, Chaplain Mike! Well-thought-out and constructed and all your points are excellent. In talking about David you write that God, “disqualified him from building the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. God said that was to be done by a man of peace, not a warrior.” That’s interesting. I had forgotten about that.

  20. Kelby Carlson says:

    Perhaps the silliest bullet point on Wilson’s list was the one about emphasizing the iii-I chord progression too much. As a worship musician, I get the fact that we can sometimes do things with chord progressions that are screwy and unhelpful to the music. But how moving from E Minor to C Major too emphatically is “feminine”, I am at an utter loss to explain. Wilson genuinely has some good things to say about worship and church life, but it’s all getting tainted by hyper-masculinity and politics.

    • I think he meant progressing from A minor to C major, because that’s the chart for ELO’s “EVIL WOMAN”.
      *sigh*

  21. headswell says:

    I thought this bible study was actually really weak and just making an argument for the sake of being contentious. Your argument is poor to say the very least, are you really trying to show how hero’s of the bible, including Jesus are ‘effeminate’? Are you trying to justify being effeminate? Jesus wasn’t macho and wasn’t effeminate either but actually really well balanced in my judgement.
    As for the arguments about robes, knights, kings and rulers, seriously what century are you trying to reach! There is a whole world out there of unbelievers who have a really bad perception of what Jesus and Christianity is all about because we won’t enter their world and culture in the clothing, street language and manner that Christ did 2000 years ago.
    Let’s stop arguing over how to shepherd the sheep and just get on with it….
    Urban Missionary

    • In case you missed it I am using Wilson’s own categories to answer him. I am no more arguing for “effeminacy” than for “masculinity.” read the very end of the article and you will get my view clearly stated.

  22. If you’re going to hold up David as a masculine Bible hero, be sure to mention his weepy relationship with Jonathan.

  23. Doug Wilson is a “land-o-plenty” of exotic, novel and proprietary views. Driscoll is his mini-me project. He has sycophantic admirers such as Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs who echo these kinds of sentiments. Yes feminizing what is masculine is a real tactic by Satan. However Wilson’s greatest flaw is prescribing anthropological remedies to a perceived spiritual problem. WHY? Because like all good Augustinian Neo-Reformed his solutions are based in rationalism first with his theology (and exegesis) often at the service his rationalistic constructs. His complaints are vague and imprecise because he really does not know what the problem is and cannot prescribe a clear remedy.

  24. I appreciate all the points made, even headswell’s up there, but yours especially, CM. You brought forth the most important point, I believe, that GOD is so totally beyond male/female that the very argument for/against our looking at the church that way is moot. We are the BRIDE, male or female, and as such we will naturally flow into a role of brideship the closer we come to truly worshipping God together. I didn’t sense your trying to effeminize biblical heroes at all; the point is that God would strip us of not just our wimpiness but our bravado as well as He refines us in the fire of sanctification in preparation for eternity in His presence. David was a man after God’s heart – let us remember this young boy who sat strumming his stringed instrument singing beautiful songs to his God, and who came before Goliath not in his own strength by any means, but in the strength and fear of the LORD of hosts. His manliness was not “manliness” at all, but humanness in all the ways God intended from the start – a relationship of complete dependence upon and fellowship with his Creator, Sustainer, Provider, the Lover of his soul. It was that slightly-built musician who “slew his ten thousands” and was this mighty warrior, but all along it was God doing the warring, not David. God does His work through men, through women, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with how well we stick to the gender guidelines, but everything to do with how we surrender to the One in charge.

  25. scrapiron says:

    CM, you are going after this Driscoll/Wlson foolishness with the same spirit the Michael Spencer exposed Joel Osteen as a mere positive thinking motivational speaker. This is the best post I’ve read here on the imonk since MS passed on. Thanks much.

  26. Can I play devil’s advocate a bit? I think that stuff like what Douglas Wilson does goes way, way too far. The whole thing just devolves into something really nasty. But with that said, let’s be honest: these types of services CAN be rather emasculating. People don’t rant against Jesus-is-my-boyfriend music for nothing. It’s uncomfortable, as a man, to be singing lyrics like “sloppy wet kiss” and “satisfy me, Lord” and “how can I keep from shouting his name” and other lyrics with semi-sexual undercurrents, you know?

    It’s not that these awful lyrics are specifically “feminine” (as though the word feminine was a pejorative). In my experience, men and women like that type of music in pretty equal proportions. But, those lyrics are emasculating. And that’s what’s giving the professional chauvinists in the church such a following.

    • I can agree with that to a point.

    • But Michael (not Chaplain Mike),

      There are so few of these types of songs in modern worship. Go look at CCLI list of top 25 songs being sung. Tell me which ones you have real problems with. These are the songs that most churches are singing today.

      • Unfortunately, the top 25 are not what are being sung by the majority of evangelicals under 30. The larger mega-churches are too cool to sing the same schtuff as everybody else, they’re bigger on making their own songs more popular or inflicting the latest disposable jingles from the hottest Charismatic youth bands that all sound the same and whose lyrics make hardly any grammatical sense. I don’t think they’re singing “Shout to the Lord” at Northpointe, the younger crowd would just laugh at how behind you are. Don’t underestimate the elitism that accompanies those closest to the leading edge of trends. Many of the songs in the top 25 are there because of the numerous small churches who just got their first guitar and they think that now they are “contemporary” because they sing “Lord I Lift Your Name On High.” I’d like to know if CCLI calculates their top 25 based on how many churches are singing the song, or if the number of people in these churches is taken into consideration, or if it’s solely based on how much they are printed off of Song Select. But my experience has been, go to any church with an average age below 35, and quite often the vast majority of songs are so new that no visitors know them. And I am very familiar with probably 95 of the top 100.

        Oh, and by the way, “sloppy wet kiss,” “satisfy me Lord,” and “how can I keep from shouting your name” are all in the CCLI top 100. There’s some real jewels in there, but they are right beside a few duds. All my friends who are my age and lead worship are more interested in the lastest hits from JMM, Crowder, United, or Jesus Culture than anything that’s had a chance to vet. This crowd is usually who get to call the shot, because they vote with their feet and go to whichever church will play them.

        On the positive side, the “Top 25” list does seem to have gotten better recently. And many songwriters who produced real duds have grown in their ability and are now churning out stuff I can use.

        • “There’s some real jewels in there, but they are right beside a few duds.”

          I find that true for any hymnal I pick up – no matter how old (and I have a few around 100 years old). I Downloaded a hymnal for my ereader recently, and nine out of ten hymns in it are absolutely smarmy. But this problem really took root 100-200 years ago. Many blame Schleiermacher, but I agree with some who believe others read what they wanted from his writings (e.g. feeling versus intuition). I think the problem began with the dawn of the enlightenment, when the historical claims of scripture began to be challenged. If Christianity is not a religion rooted in history with substantiated claims, then it has no use but for the promotion of social morality and self-esteem.

        • Hey Miguel,

          Some very good points there.

    • But Michael – I can’t find any women who will admit to liking those sort of songs either – not because they emasculating of course, they are just plain yukky (an excellent theological term!).

    • For that matter, though, I’m sure if I put together a service full of stereotypically “masculine” hymns– say, “Onward Christian Soldiers,” “Fight the Good Fight with All Thy Might,” and “Soldiers of Christ Arise,” I’d succeed in making other men and women equally uncomfortable. The problem of course would not be masculinity but militarism, an equally controversial issue in hymnological circles.

      Hymnologically speaking, I might add, songs about a “romantic” (even borderline erotic) relationship with Jesus have a long and (mostly) distinguished pedigree in church history. The Reformers loved them, Bach wrote cantatas on them, the Pietists practically revolved around them, and in short they go straight back to the Church Fathers’ allegorical interpretation of Song of Solomon by way of the medieval mystics. Meanwhile, the infatuation with machismo, as far as I can work out, probably goes back no further than the “Muscular Christianity” of the late 1850s.

      Not that any of that is likely to impress the likes of Wilson, whose point 6 alone proves he knows or cares absolutely nothing whatsoever about music. “The worship music rides particular chord changes hard, with special mention being given to the shift from E Minor to C Major.” Seriously? Adding irony to idiocy, those are the chords at the beginning of “The Battle Belongs to the Lord,” which is surely militaristic enough for any manly man, in tights, tight tights– oops, wrong song. Speaking as a classically trained composer, there are only two possible ways to understand that statement: Either Douglas Wilson is a complete and utter sophist loon, or he’s trolling us all.

      • Tongue planted firmly in cheek… Not to be picky but… The begining of “The Battle belongs to the Lord” actually alternates between Em and D, making it a much more masculine song. 🙂

        Can chord changes even be masculine or feminine?

        • Heh. Playing it through in my head I realized I added a CMaj7 in there somewhere that’s probably not on the original chart. I guess I’ve contributed to the feminization of worship! (Bonus irony points, I’m a man adding my own “feminine” harmonies to a “masculine” chorus written by a woman…. I give up!)

          A poke around on the Internet just informed me that there is indeed a slightly-too-common change (vi-IV-I-V) that somehow got dubbed the “Sensitive Female Chord Progression.” This despite the fact that the inevitable blog dedicated to the subject says, “I’d say that half the songs I’ve found are by men (go figure), and it can be used quite aggressively.” Needless to say, Wilson’s “E minor to C Major” wouldn’t fit in there anywhere.

          I also recall that a cadence can be “masculine” or “feminine” depending where it falls in the measure (not on the chords themselves), though the terms are now seen as too sexist. One might also make an equally good case that, since lying is a sin, we should never go from V7 to vi since that’s a deceptive cadence. And now I’m officially overthinking this.

      • I don’t know about your hymnal, but in the Lutheran Service Book, “Fight the Good Fight” is a “manly” text, but it is set to one heck of a lullaby tune. The contrast is nearly comical.

    • How Can I Keep From Singing is one of my favorite songs of the last few years, and it never even crossed my mind that there was anything un-masculine about it. I just take it as a happy and joyous song, and find it fun to sing.

      • Agreed!

      • This song does have a lot going for it, and it’s Tomlin at his best, Imo. It features:
        -A great text with complete sentences, poetic language, and connection to both the highs and lows of life.
        -A singable melody with a decent range that is easy for congregations to pick up on quickly
        -Simple enough accompaniment that even the most beginning of bands can pick it up quickly
        -Practically built-in dynamic contrast that helps keep it interesting.

        Nothing is wrong with the song, I just tend to put it in the “I Surrender All” category: It represents a good sentiment, but half the time I’m singing it I’m lying. “I know I am loved by the King and it makes my heard want to sing…” Well, sometimes. But unlike “I Surrender All,” this song works to connect with those who are struggling. It works great as an opening to worship, but recently I just can’t stop singing “Come People of the Risen King” by the Getty’s instead. Perhaps I just analyse the lyrics a bit much.

        • As far as Tomlin’s poetic language goes, I’m still trying to get past his “And like a flood, his mercy reigns” in another of his songs.

          It makes me want to take arms against a sea of troubles or something.

          • Wow, I never caught that one before. Yeah, a flood does seem to be the antithesis of mercy. But I was never big on his remake of Amazing Grace, I don’t see it as an improvement on the original, just like the vast majority or hymn remakes by CCM rockstars. Sandra McCracken’s version (correctly entitled “Faith’s Review and Expectation”) is far superior, and doesn’t turn a jubilant anthem of rejoicing into an emo ballad.

          • Haven’t heard the song but I’m baffled by that simile. ‘Like a flood, His mercy reigns’? I’m thinking really hard, but I can’t recall ever seeing a flood reigning over anything. Or is it meant to be a pun on ‘rain’ (but then surely it would be the rain that’s flooding, not the flood that’s raining)?

  27. thank you for this article. don’t get me wrong, i’m all for guys “manning up” but when it takes the form of pride and self-reliance…the “ideal” becomes distorted.

    as another supportive biblical example to this article, consider the contrast b/w the apostle Peter vs. the apostle John on Maundy Thursday…

    “Masculine” Peter the rock brags that he will stick by Jesus no matter what and even cuts off ears if necessary…contrasted with feminine John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, leaning against Jesus’ breast…

    which one was there for our Lord in his time of need at the foot of the cross? the one who boasted in his love for God, or the one who boasted in God’s love for him?

  28. Oh Chaplain Mike, I love the term ‘vexatious vixen’. I may have a badge made…

  29. Feminism, masculinity whatever it is to be called…through it all out the window. Feminism is a new concept in the history of humanity. Masculism (to rule and dominate) is a poor worn out excuse for paternalism (to guide, lead and share an equal part in) where the man takes responsibility, but works equally to with a lady, to arrive at a well thought out and wise decision. When I read the scriptures that is way I interpret a healthy dynamic of male/female interaction in relationship with each other…before and with God…ordained by God. Apply this across the board and the way I see it you cannot go wrong.

  30. Apologies… amendment to my last…first line replace ‘through’ with ‘throw’ – end.

  31. Esau “Christianity? Didn’t God explicitly say “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated?” In it should we sell our bithright for a mess of pottage?

  32. I read Wilson’s article and I think he does believe what he is saying but that he is saying it in a way he knows will be controversial. That is not always helpful and can make your legitimate points get lost in the noise. For instance, it is a pretty well known and well argued theory that men have become increasingly disconnected from worship since Victorian times due to the feminizing of worship. You can argue against it , but Wilson is not the only one saying it.

    Likewise, as a church planter and one who has actually read church planting material from a variety of denominations, it is a well known fact that if you want to be a successful plant you really will need to get the men in church. I know this will not fit with a lot of folks on this blog opinions, but the reality is, especially in just ordinary families, that if you can get the men coming to church they will bring their wife and kids but whereas if you get the mother, she will bring the kids at times, but the men will often stay home. I know there are exceptions to every rule but my experience as a pastor and planter has been that I have seen very few if any situations where the dad came but the family didn’t come with him.

    And frankly, as someone who had the very unpleasant experience to sit through a service a few weeks back where they actually sung the “sloppy wet kiss” song ( I had not heard it before) all I can say is YUCK.

    But I will say this as a side note, and a little red meat for folks to jump on if they wish. But the quickest way to draw the ire of this blog now seems to go against what has been accepted as indisputable- namely any rejection of radical egalitarianism. This debate over WO is not going away b/c WO is neither orthodox nor catholic. And kudo’s to the Pope for his smack down of radical feminist religious in America last week.

    • Austin, your comments are thoughtful as always. As for the church planting methodology you mention I wouldn’t deny that but I’m not sure it has anything to do with Wilson’s call for “masculine worship.”

      As for the egalitarian thing, you are right to a degree. Anything that shows contempt for women or less than full acceptance of their full partnership in Christ and his Body will likely get a response from me. It’s one of my issues. I might also remind you that contemporary feminism was originally a Christian project.

      • The “sloppy wet kiss” thing was supposed to be a clever lyric using a hurricane coming ashore as a metaphor for…something, I’m not sure what. It missed the boat all the way around.

        • The lyric is “Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss”… I guess I don’t see the big about it. It’s just a way of describing the incarnation. It’s certainly not the first time that semi-romantic terms have been used in such a way.

          • Well, pretty sure you didn’t read any “church plant” info from the Catholic Church!!

            And btw……we have lots and lots of men, in every parish I have ever been in (except for Mass on Sunday nights at my all-female college…)

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            It’s certainly not the first time that semi-romantic terms have been used in such a way.

            Check out the term “Bridal Mysticism” sometime. Never mind semi-romantic, that Medieval movement used flat-out erotic terminology. Of which our present “Jesus-is-My-Boyfriend” fluff is but an echo.

    • No one is saying we don’t want men in the church and we don’t want men to be leading. There are plenty of reasons why men don’t come to church or connect with the church they go to and I don’t think it is entirely about so called feminisation of the church.
      From what I have observed, what really turns men off from church is the way in which their gifts are not used because ministers/pastors (predominantly males) often have a big problem with other ‘strong’ men coming into leadership with them. So some men who have gifts of leadership are sidelined from leading spiritually and switch off and turn their attentions elsewhere usually to work and family. I see it happening time and again.

    • Austin:
      A few months ago I was at a family get together and one male relative started talking about how he felt the church was becoming feminized and how he and other men he knew felt uncomfortable. Part of it was on things like songs that were being sung and the pastor wanting people to join hands and pray.

      I could immediately see what he was talking about. One of his points was the lack of good debate and discussion, and how men had to tone down (he is not a combative type, his church circles don’t like discussion
      or disagreement). As if to demonstrate the point a few minutes later a female relative joined in the discussion and quickly got offended and left, and it was the typical type of discussion that men get into and will disagree with one another. Verbal jousing and parrying.

      In my own experience I see it as a pattern. It is the men who get turned off with church and drop out. The reasons may be many, and I suspect it also encompasses Ali’s comments.

      • Ken – when women join in with the debating and the discussion let alone the verbal jousting and parrying as you put it, we are often told that we are being unfeminine. As someone who used to be a defence attorney it’s second nature to me to join in with that sort of conversation so it’s more than slightly irritating and difficult to know how to handle such condemning attitudes graciously at times. It really does seem as you’re damned if you do join and damned if you don’t.

        • We welcomed her to the discussion. I have no problem with it. To me I am proud when my oldest daughter can put me in a corner in an argument.

          She got offended because we did not agree with her and pushed back as men do. Somehow I suspect she had this idea that conversation always needs to be a certain way and we did not fit the bill.

    • Dana Ames says:

      Austin, I’m sure your experience is valuable.

      I’d like to share my experience in EOrthodoxy, where women’s ordination is not even on the table. As much as I love F. Mathewes-Green’s writing and respect her wisdom, I disagree with her about Orthodoxy having “a more masculine sensibility” as the reason it attracts men. For some men in this country, it is probably perceived that way, but it reflects a very superficial understanding of what Orthodoxy is. I can’t speak to the reasons “cradle Orthodox” men remain Orthodox, but among the “converts” I know, I think other reasons prevail.

      1) Orthodoxy has a really tight theology, centered on the Cross and Resurrection. In our Chrisitian cultures, all of them, men are expected to take an interest in theology; women are (still) not expected to bother their little heads about those things. (I’m very much the exception to that; my journey into O. was definitely theology-driven.) However, there have been about equal numbers of adult men and women, of all ages, received into the Church in my parish in the 3 1/2 years I’ve been there.
      2) The focus on Jesus, and communal worship of the Trinitarian Godhead through Jesus, is very compelling.
      3) Men are expected (as Jesus seemed to think his followers would continue to do) to pray, fast and give alms, to keep his commandments and to cultivate humility like his through continued turning to God (repentance), living a sacramental life, and through ascetic practice. This expectation actually works against any assumed or expressed machismo or patriarchy. [Oh, btw, women are expected to do these things too. We’re called to be saints, and sainthood is not restricted by gender.]

      I did have to work through the ordination for men only thing. One thing that really helped me is that in every parish I have had the opportunity to observe, except for being ordained, “on the ground” women can do anything men can do, and I’ve never heard any nonsense about any particular task being more “masculine” or “feminine” than anything else. (One of our best prosphora -offering bread- bakers is a man.) Theologically, priests and deacons are members of the congregation, just like everyone else; the only difference is that they are called to a particular kind of service in which the depth of theology of the Icon plays a role, not because being a male is somehow more elevated than being a female.

      Dana

    • It is unfortunate that Austin is correct with regard to opposition to egalitarianism becoming anathema in many places, including this blog.

      One of C.S. Lewis’ essentials for a “mere Christianity” was the notion of male leadership. He argued there were sacramental reasons why only men should be pastors; that what we call God and Jesus matters, and that if we lose sight of these distinctions we will cease to be Christian.

      Look at what is happening in some denominations with “Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier” replacing “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” homosexual ordination shortly following women’s ordination and so on, and it’s hard to argue with Lewis.

      If we lose these distinctions were are losing a large part of what it means to be orthodox, catholic and evangelical. Period.

      • But you are not hearing anyone advocate for losing those distinctions here, are you? The slippery slope is a fallacy. Each step is a choice not a slide. If you see us taking actual steps call us on it. There is a long tradition of recognizing women as equal partners in the Gospel and I make no apology for making that one of the issues I care about and write about.

        • You’re right that the slippery slope is a fallacy…but it is interesting to see how it works out sometimes, while still being fallacious.

          I would recommend reading Dr. Russell Moore’s essay “Why We’re All Egalitarians Now.” The source of a lot of the consternation for women’s ordination (after 1950 years of relative quiet on the subject) comes from sources who say that Christianity at its heart is patriarchal, because of the notion that God is our Father and Jesus is the Son. I read a book by a neo-Pagan, Sam Keen, where he makes exactly this argument against Christianity and monotheistic religions in general: they’re patriarchal, they destroy the environment, they oppress women. You have it from the horse’s mouth. He’s not the only one saying it.

          If we begin to walk away from the patriarchal nature of Christianity, we lose something very important. The pagans see the connection and they oppose it. Will we see the connection and defend it?

          So yes, when we speak of women’s ordination we are indirectly touching on Trinitarian issues, because like it or not, patriarchy is part of Christianity to some degree. It logically follows that if gender distinctions made by Paul no longer apply because we’re all one in Christ now, then why does it matter what we call God? Why not call Him Mother? Read some of the comments on Rachel Held Evans blog. People are going there, and why not? What principled reason can you give them for not going there?

          Sure the slippery slope is fallacious, but does that prevent it from ever being true? If a spade’s a spade, you gotta call it a spade.

          Rachel herself has written that as long as the church continues to withhold ordination from women, it is engaging in ongoing oppression of womens’ voices. Which means that the entire Church Catholic has been guilty of engaging in oppression since the beginning. It’s the old evangelical pit-fall: assume that everybody who came before got it wrong until you “figured it all out” by reading a couple of Bible verses one day. It doesn’t work.

          Also, I don’t think Austin or I would deny that women are “equal partners in the Gospel.” We merely do not think it right to ordain them to lead churches. I don’t know where Austin is on female deacons, personally I’m OK with it. I’m OK with women lectors, singers, etc. Just not pastors. And it isn’t because I think that men are better than women; rather we are engaging with sacramental realities in church, and the nature of that Reality requires that the person delivering to us the Mysteries of a Father God and His Son be a man. Much like the vestments worn by clergy, the gender of the pastor points us to a sacramental reality, which, because it is sacred, we had better not mess with.

          • Ben, you and I, we’ve been through this before, and we disagree on this one.

            I will repeat my fundamental position for the sake of other readers who may not have been privy to earlier conversations. The foundational passage for me remains Genesis 1:26-28

            “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

            Note the “him” and the “them” references in this passage, reflecting Unity/diversity after the fashion of the Trinity. God’s image is fully reflected only when male and female function together in partnership.

            The image of God is reflected in male and female together, living in the blessing of God, in full and equal partnership representing God and multiplying his blessing throughout the world. These words are not addressed to men but to men and women together. Only men and women together in full and equal partnership ultimately show “God’s image” to the world.

            The promise of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-18), to be exemplified in the Church (Galatians 3:28), is that this original creation design is being restored in the new creation.

            I know you don’t agree with this, and have other arguments to wield against it, but this is not the place for that. I just wanted to make sure everyone is clear about where I stand on this. And once again, unless I am persuaded otherwise, this will be the perspective from which I write on this blog.

  33. Reading this, my thoughts jumped immediately to Clement of Alexandria:

    “But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly! And, in truth, unless you saw them naked, you would suppose them to be women…. For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with shaggy breasts…” etc.

    The whole thing is so hilariously out-of-proportion (and shows that this hyper-masculinity thing is far from a new development) that I’ll risk this comment getting auto-blocked just to post the link:

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.vi.iii.iii.iii.html

    • Dana Ames says:

      Yeah, well… St Clement was well known for his out-of-proportion turns of phrase. Context is everything. Just because the man was a saint, doesn’t mean he had wisdom about secondary issues, and his Christology was not fully developed. Always refer to the Cappadocians first!

      btw, one of the later Canons said it was inappropriate for priests to have beards.

      Dana

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Yeah, well… St Clement was well known for his out-of-proportion turns of phrase.

        Sounds like St Clement wouldn’t sound out-of-place hosting morning drive-time radio on KFI…

  34. Excellent post. Tag it as a classic iMonk counterpunch.

    The disturbing spirit of male-dominant Christianity seems to me to flow from a single source–neo-reformed patriarchal theology and practice. Complementarianism is just a symptom, not the cause. In my view of the church, this stream of the neo-reformed movement is contemporary legalism, pure and simple. If some strains of fundamentalism practice behavioral legalism, the partriarchal strain of reformed-ism is practicing doctrinal legalism, which is much more insidious and dangerous. Rather than being honored as a worthy and acceptable theology because its purveyors have visibility and standing as Christian leaders, patriarchalism needs to be soundly refuted and rejected by the church as legalism.

    I am still a classical evangelical, but it is the unwillingness, or inability, of American evangelicalism as a movement to soundly and publicly condemn this kind of aberrant doctrine that makes me a frustrated evangelical. If the neo-reformistas are in the evangelical fold, then evangelicalism may be a lost cause. If they are not in the fold, then where is the unified voice of condemnation? Your voice, Chaplain Mike, is a breath of fresh encouragement. Keep it up.

  35. Whenever I read article like Wilson’s, I’m reminded of the confession before communion in the Orthodox liturgy that talks about entering the “bridal chamber” of Christ. Imagery doesn’t get much more feminine than that… Was St. John Chrysostom a girly-man? It would appear that according to Douglas Wilson he was.

    I do agree with others. I just assume these screeds are borne out of something else altogether. That being fear and insecurity about these people’s world changing in a way they don’t like. Unfortunately for them, they’re fighting a losing battle.

  36. I don’t often write, yet I would like to post a great wise saying from the best authority available to all who would listen and be transformed . . .”There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Help us to understand our hearts in the light . . .may we pray to have our hearts rendered by your Spirit, Lord.

  37. susan wells says:

    not to mention, very simply, that Paul, the Apostle, said, “there is no male or female in the spirit…no Syncthian, no Jew, No Greek… all are one in Christ. And didn’t Esau lose his birthright? and he’s still angry.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And didn’t Esau lose his birthright? and he’s still angry.

      GOOD LINE!

  38. susan wells says:

    not to mention, very simply, that Paul, the Apostle, said, “there is no male or female in the spirit…no Syncthian, no Jew, No Greek… all are one in Christ.

    Come to think of it, didn’t Esau lose his birthright? I often wonder if Esau was one of the souls that Jesus released when he descended into hell. Scripture doesn’t tell.

  39. George F Somsel says:

    Chaplin Mike wrote: “Wilson is also critical of what he perceives to be wimpy worship music and bemoans the lack of militant music, songs that contain “references to judgment, wrath, battles, enemies, Hell, the devil, or apostasy.” He condemns musicians who are “more concerned that the choir trills their r’s correctly than that they fill the sanctuary with loud sounds of battle,””

    Wilson seems to reflect the problem with much of today’s churches. The emphasis is upon judgment. This is supremely manifest is that horrendous, though popular, sermon by Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” I would submit that this is diametrically opposed to the gospel. God is not some ogre dangling man over the abyss of the pit of hell. He rather “so loved the world that he sent his only son …” The gospel is the message of God’s love. It only has any retributive function when we fail to trust in him.

    • That’s an interesting observation. I know that Wilson has made reference to Edwards. I am not sure about Driscoll.. Many in the Neo-Reformed movement like Edwards and Spurgeon. Like nothing new has been thought of in the past 100 or so years.

    • There is a lot more to Edwards than Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (and when he compares people to spiders, one should keep in mind that he liked spiders!). It’s kind of unfortunate that he’s been reduced to nothing more.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Yeah. Jonathan Edwards was one of the most brilliant men of his generation, involved in science and founding of higher education in Colonial America. And all he’s known for these days is ONE Hellfire-and-Damnation sermon, which for all we know he may have written during a bout of depression.

    • Joseph (the original) says:

      i believe the imagery of the militaristic Jesus is only something Jesus Himself can pull off perfectly. all other attempts by people emulating such can only become a source of abuse, manipulation, pride, ego, self-importance, etc.

      Jesus’ example to us during His Incarnation the one we were given to emulate here in this age, not the one in the age to come. there will be only one King-of-kings & here on this earth where His kingdom is be established, it is to be done in that “topsy-turvy” way Dallas Willard wrote about…

      since it is frustrated males that begin to fantasize about ‘kicking ass & taking names’ when their plans are being thwarted, it will become obvious in their speach & actions. they think that a dictatorial posture where it is “my way or the highway” closest to the divine methodology of Christ-like leadership. and when the topic segues into one of gender caricatures, you know the poor soul is misguided at best or an unfulfilled despot at worst…

      Lord, have mercy… 🙁

  40. David Cornwell says:

    Driscoll and Wilson have issues, and its not just the weird theology they espouse. They need a few years of psychoanalysis, on the couch, with an old fashion Freudian helping them come to terms with the extreme alienation and insecurity that drives their lives.

    I’m just being half-serious here, but these men have problems.

  41. *sigh* What a post to read on my first day back to work. I’m vascillating between outrage and unbelieving sorrow at the state of our Church today. Clearly we’ve allowed our vision and our minds to be pulled WAY off track. How Satan must be rejoicing over this chaos . . 🙁

    • And BTW — just WHAT, may I ask, is wrong with boys the way Norman Rockwell painted them???

      • Many good and interesting comments above. And this article goes down as one of my favorite recent Internet Monk blog posts!

        I will simply add that the biggest misstep in Wilson’s complaint is that he assumes that the trends he dislikes (lack of judgment in sermons, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs, etc) is somehow a manifestation of femininity. These trends have at times been thought of as a result of feminine culture–with a grain of truth. But this is far from the obvious or whole truth. In fact, he’s just turning to his anxieties over gender as a way to explain developments he dislikes. There’s been a great deal of male agency behind the things he decries in each of his bullet points. Need I point out that women are not actually running most of the churches he is picturing?

        So what makes his hated contemporary worship, et. al., appear feminine? I am tempted to answer: his own, negative picture of femininity as synonymous with compromise, passion, fluidity, change, and corruption. At fault here is his belief in a gender system that depends on masculine and feminine natures being opposed, and his fear that the masculine is always in danger of being gobbled up because it relies on the exercise of powers that more and more women (and men too) are denying it.

  42. Charles E. Lewis says:

    If it were not for the women in my denomination serving in the church as Sunday School teachers, missionary presidents, board members, etc. there would be no Church. And no males in any of our Churches ever became effiminate working with these ladies.

  43. Who wants someone robed as a hunter tending sheep? It was my understanding that a pastor’s robe and staff were to symbolize their role as shepherd, employed by and accountable to the Good Shepherd. The way these bullies and punks treat their flocks, the imagery is more than symbolic: hunters slaughtering the sheep as bloodsport. Some bold shepherd who still remains faithful needs to go after these predators with the rod.

  44. I wonder if it messes with these guys st all to know everyone, male and female, are the BRIDE of Christ…

  45. Chaplain Mike:
    On this issue it seems like unfortunately you taking shots at the extreme cases is to the detriment of the real issues at hand. I think some people like Drioscoll set themselves up to receive pot shots. So of course in your column you draw out all the people who want to bash men who hold these positions.

    And the effect is that genuine discussion on the issue becomes lost. It degenerates into being political.

    From my corner of the world I see that men are not terribly engaged in church. And part of that equation is the feminization of church, the other reasons I am not sure of. But it is a problem and needs to be addressed. Someone here commented that in his denomination if was not for the women there would be no church. That is not answering the question at all, but simply justifying things the way they are.

    Maybe there are reasons why only women are helping out.

    Here are some of the things that I see:

    * Lots of men by middle age get turned off church.
    * Get some of the men alone and you can engage them in issues, they will discuss things that are relevant to the world.
    * They are often disappointed that they are not permitted to make a meaningful contribution.
    * They are uncomfortable with the feminization of church, at times it is too touch feely

    This is a very important issue and I wish that you would frame the discussion differently in a future post so that we can actually discuss the issue underlying why Driscoll and Wilson are posturing as they do.

    • Ken, I appreciate your input and will consider doing another post from another angle. This post by Wilson, however, was so outrageous that I felt it needed to be answered. Like it or not, this is part of the debate in evangelicalism today, and it tends to the extremes.

      The problem you talk about is nothing new, but I seriously do not think “feminization” of the church is the issue. I mean, come on, no matter what songs we sing, the very act of sitting together with a bunch of other people singing is viewed by a lot of men with distaste. And as for listening to sermons and reading books and talking openly about what’s happening in my life — when have men in our culture EVER been attracted to such things?

      All of this is so culturally based. Wilson, for example, lifts up Bach, Wren, Rembrandt, and C.S. Lewis as examples of robust beauty and truth that he would like to see more of in the church. How many men in our culture would find listening to classical or choral music, going to the museum to look at Rembrandt paintings, or reading a professor of literature who loved fairy tales as “masculine” traits?

      The church’s worship need not be changed in toto because it doesn’t fit the anthropological expectations of certain groups of people. John Wesley reached the roughest of the rough in his day when he preached in the fields to coal miners. That was an example of what the church needs to do — get out of the building and become missional toward men. But then when they became Christians, Wesley brought them to the mannered Anglican church for worship!

      Yes, we must reach men. To do so we should go to their workplaces, places of recreation, homes, engage them in the community and in neighborhoods, and so on. Teach them Christ and baptize them into a life of humility, sacrificial love, respect for women, and concern for the “least of these.” Much of the rest of what you say doesn’t have anything to do with “feminization” but with a lack of vision, depth, character, and challenge in what the church offers. Give men (and women and children) the genuine Christ and you are giving them all they need.

      • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I agree with much of what you have said.

        The overarching question I am getting at is why are men often not engaged in church? The feminization of church may be 1 factor, but there are others.

        If this is a complaint that some men have, I think we need to examine it. I am a church planter, so this is a big issue to me and I would love to discuss it. And it would take the form of asking What do we mean when we say feminization of church? Once we have defined it, do the critics have a valid point? I am saying we need to give this issue a fair hearing rather than focusing on those who are easy targets. It is easy to tar and feather Wilson, but what if there are kernels of truth in his assertions? It would be a sad thing to miss 49% of the population (I hear that women are 51%) because we do not think it is a valid question.

        This is part of a wider context. When I was a child, educators in Canada felt they were missing the boat with girls and science. Changes were made. Now we have another problem in this country at 2 ends of the scale: less men going to university and early child hood educators recognizing they are missing the mark with boys. And I can honestly say if my 2 sons were like their sisters they could have done well in primary school.

        So I think the likes of Driscoll and Wilson are actually addressing real problems that they see. Maybe they are going about it the wrong way, but that does not negate the issue.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        How many men in our culture would find… reading a professor of literature who loved fairy tales as “masculine” traits?

        Bronies would. Because fairy tales are popular versions of the power of Myth, the Old Stories. Whether traditional or newly-coined. Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis — all considered the “fairy tales” and children’s stories — especially those with all-ages appeal — the core of a culture’s storytelling.

      • Jack Heron says:

        “All of this is so culturally based. Wilson, for example, lifts up Bach, Wren, Rembrandt, and C.S. Lewis as examples of robust beauty and truth that he would like to see more of in the church. How many men in our culture would find listening to classical or choral music, going to the museum to look at Rembrandt paintings, or reading a professor of literature who loved fairy tales as “masculine” traits?”

        I’m curious, Chaplain Mike. Are those genuinely things that in your culture a lot of people would find unmasculine? I suddenly feel really foreign. A lot of people here would certainly call them ‘posh’ or ‘old fashioned’ or, more probably, ‘not for the likes of me’, but they would all be broadly neutral activities with possibly a slight slant towards being associated with masculinity (Lewis is definitely regarded as appealing mostly to boys and men).

    • This is probably the engineer in me, but sometimes “addressing the problem” with the wrong answer is just as bad as doing nothing, and sometimes it can make the situation worse. I’m still not convinced that on the whole the church is too feminine. I’m sure people can find anecdotal evidence in places, but I often think that it’s simply an excuse that men use to justify their hardheartedness. Sometimes, the right thing to is to hold hands and pray together. Sometimes we do need to be reminded that there’s nothing wrong in showing physical affection in a church. Sometimes, if the song makes you uncomfortable, you’re the problem, not the song.

      • Brianthedad says:

        Good point. A wise pastor once told me there was no right answer to a wrong question.

        • So explain why asking the question about the obvious disengagement of men from church is a wrong question.

          And Phil, as an Engineer if you see a problem in something in your work are you obligated to ask why the problem exists. Poor design? Poor operating conditions? Or if there are system failures do you simply say I won’t address it because I may come up with the wrong answer?

          I have not been to every church, but what I have seen is that often women outnumber men and the question is why? My relative complains feminization of church (quotes a book called Why Men Hate Church’). The answer may not be simple but what you seem to propose is ignore it.

          Am I reading you correctly?

  46. Is there truly no other choice other than emotional, touchy-feely, Jesus-my-girlfriend/wet slobbery kiss worship stage on one extreme and Driscoll’s ultimate fighting octogon on the other? Am I supposed to be less concerned about taking my family to a church were American alpha-mail brutality is validated than a church where the homosexual political agenda is validated? Are we saying that one is less evil than the other – which sounds a lot like cultural relativism?

  47. 6. The worship music rides particular chord changes hard, with special mention being given to the shift from E Minor to C Major;

    11. This list is printed out and handed around at your church, and at least three people are mortally offended.

    As a budding and aspiring guitarist (warning: Don’t wait until you’re nearly 60 to try to learn to play guitar!), I don’t get this. In fact, I think I’m mortally offended by point 6. 😮

    Please, somebody, explain what is effeminate about Em->C chord changes.

    • It reminds me of Jimmy Swaggart’s stereotyping of certain chords and rhythms as provocative…to put it mildly. Nothing has changed. Just new packaging for the same old tired legalism.

      • Same with Bill Gothard. If a song had a strong bass line, it stirred up the baser passions and was to be avoided at all costs.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And don’t forget what’s-his-face who served as Jack Chick’s hatchetman during the Backwards Masking/Rock-and-Roll-is-Satanic jihad…

    • I overanalyzed this a bit in a thread a few posts above. Suffice to say, I have (1) a degree in music composition and (2) going on 20 years’ experience in church music and (3) no earthly idea what Wilson could possibly have thought he was talking about. (If anybody else has a clue, I’d be perversely interested.)

      To me, it makes just about exactly as much sense as saying men should avoid spelling with the letters F and W, since those stand for “female” and “womanly.”

      Of course, I’m the guy who once got momentarily concerned for a young guitarist’s salvation when she told me she wasn’t sure she knew Gsus….

  48. Dana Ames says:

    CM:

    Thanks for this.

    Wilson is admired in some corners because of his abilities in framing logical arguments. But reading further into his arguments – which I did for a short while years ago, attracted by what seemed on the surface to be a coherent theology – his god is so unlike the One you describe at the end of your post… his god disdains the female portion of humankind and seeks to keep them children. The one true and living God is not like that.

    Christ is Risen – indeed, He is Risen!

    Dana

    • Dana Ames says:

      Not only that, but Wilson needs to read church history beyond the Reformation. A serious perusal of the lives of the Christian martyrs of the first three centuries reveals that women as well as men endured torture and death for the Lord.

      Dana

  49. This UFC Christianity that Driscoll and his ilk are pushing is the biggest load of theological crap ever pioneered.

  50. I think our culture is one that wants evidence that a thing “works.” Many men (and women) may feel that they would attend church regularly IF there was good indication that by attending, the following things would happen:

    1. Their children would be less apt to get into trouble
    2. Their spouse (if married) would be more loving and would never leave the marriage
    3. They learned something useful each week
    4. They felt their presence helped the community in some way

    If they have no indication that those things happen for church-goers any more than for non-church-goers, then all the more reason to stay home, play with the kids, go fishing, golfing, hiking, whatever.

    Just a thought…