Close your eyes for a minute and try to picture the model Christian man. Chances are you’ll envision someone who is meek, mild, quiet and complacent. Just like many deacons and elders in the average Church.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Well, for starters, it is far removed from the risk-taking, bold, and outspoken men we find in the Bible. True, many of those men made huge mistakes, but one thing that you can be certain of is that a man who takes no significant risks suffers no significant losses. He also enjoys no significant gains.
I believe that one of the reasons the church has largely become impotent. I base this observation on the lack of willingness by most men who identify themselves as Christians to diligently study and then stand up and defend what they claim to believe in.
A friend of mine who is a former Muslim, specifically a former member of the racially motivated Nation of Islam, described this lack of zeal this way. As a Muslim he was encouraged to learn not only correct Islamic doctrine, but also the doctrine and corresponding arguments both for and against their positions. They were also encouraged to actively engage everyone they came into contact with and to not shy away from agreements and debates.
Now you might say, well that’s unique to Muslims. Yes, it may be true that Islam happens to simply appeal to more aggressive men, after all Muhammad personally took part in the killings and savage warfare found in the early history of Islam.
However we need to also look at Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, any religion or ideology that grows is watered and tended by men who are full of zeal for what they believe in.
Contrast this with the average deacon or elder we described above who is more apt to fight over the color of the carpet or whether to allow the youth to play their “new fangled” praise and worship music than they are to engage anyone in any real debate or discourse that just might persuade them of the truth they claim to have found for themselves.
Big difference, huh?
The difficulty with docile men
One of the central problems that has led to the current, broken, state of the church impotent is the rampant feminizing and belittling of masculine traits within the church’s own walls.1
What happens when you have an entire army made up of docile men? Typically you find natural masculine tendencies perverted and expressed in all kinds of ways that are generally unhealthy.
Instead of healthy debate and arguing you have backbiting and political games. Instead of fierce love of what one has been graciously given you have quiet resentment of what others have, schemes to get it, and attempts of murder (a la James) or assassination(mostly of the character variety) to get it.
The problem with docile men is that they end up destroying themselves rather than the enemy they were meant to fight.
The road ahead
One of the hard lessons I’ve learned (and re-learned) over the years is that the hallmark of real Christian men is their embrace of and perseverance through trials that naturally arise as they stand firm in their convictions.
One of the sad realities of the overly feminized world we live in is that often the masculine traits that can help lead us to grow and advance the kingdom of God are also the most belittled as “disruptive” and “divisive”.
We, as Christian men, need to make a conscious decision to follow the examples of the men we find in the Bible. Good Christian men don’t sit idly by while those controversy swirls around them. They don’t bury their heads in the sand and pretend controversy doesn’t exist. They face it head-on because they are wholly committed to truth. In fact, they realize that the only road to unity is not through docile submission but through a ruthless commitment to truth. They realize that true love depends on it.
What the Church needs is a few good men.