I remember first encountering Mark Driscoll of Seattle’s Mars Church and being impressed by his anger and outrage at the sin and corruption that is so often overlooked by many professing Christians. I was taken back, because there are many who would shy away from making such clear statements about things such as the apostate churches that ordain homosexuals, Arminianism, and other taboo subjects. But what I did not like was his hypermasculinization of Christianity, which he felt was/is a necessary corrective to “the effeminization of the church.” Driscoll’s version of Biblical masculinity seemed to be, well, completely unbiblical, distorted, and sexist, being more American than Christian, more carnal than spiritual.
You see, for many who are following this trend of redefining the bible’s teaching on what it means to be a man, this is just an opportunity to be more of a muscle head, jock, or tough guy. It’s quite nice, really, because you can sneak your arrogance, delusions of grandeur, and authoritarianism into the church, hiding them beneath a false crisis and a poorly crafted disguise of misinterpreted Scriptures. You can have your sin and justify it too! There have been many who, in the name of reviving the Biblical concept of masculinity, have really blurred the line between Christianity and pop American culture, not just Mark Driscoll (whose ministry, in all honesty, I haven’t followed up for some time now), in an attempt to market the church to men. The complaint is that the church has become effete, lost its masculine umph, and has, well, lost its credibility among men.
Is this true? I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that the biblical concept of man is not as simple as these men would like to make it seem. The biblical man is not just some gun totin,’ cee-gar smokin,’ corporate ladder climbing, hyper-competetive, ex-marine-man, 0% body fat (i.e. all muscle) dude who had every woman on the planet chasing him, but who, because of his great dignity and honor, sought out a princess dwelling in the nearest college dorm tower, slew the dragon that held her bound to her senior thesis project (i.e. her R.A.) and married her as soon as they both finished college together.
That isn’t the picture at all.
Rather, it is the godly men of Scripture who are often the tenderest of men. These are men who are lied to, taken advantage of, mocked, spit upon, cheated on, and who are called weak in the eyes of the world. Think of Hosea, whose wife was a prostitute. Think of the apostle Paul, whose apostleship was challenged and who, in spite of this, appealed gently to his accusers (cf. 1st and 2nd Corinthians). Think of the apostle John who, in an extreme act of sissiness, laid his head upon the chest of the Lord Jesus and found repose in His loving embrace (WWMDS = What Would Mark Driscoll Say?). Think of the apostle Paul, again, who likened himself to a tender mother (1 Thes 2:7), and to a mother laboring in child birth (Gal 4:19).
Think of Christ who rose up as a tender shoot, who was like a mother hen brooding over her chicks, who was poor, unpopular with the popular men of his day, who had only a few (unfaithful) friends, who was despised by his brothers, who did not fight back when He was unjustly accused, who was accused falsely and reviled but did not open His mouth to revile back, who was spat upon, scourged, beaten, cast out of the city that belonged to Him(!), and who died an ignoble death (at least according to the men of his day that valued a robust masculinity, complete with authority, control, and the best weapons of their day – the cross).
Think of Cain, who did not look for a city whose builder and maker is God, but sought to establish a city named after his son (i.e. Enoch) and leave, thereby, a legacy for his family. And now think of Lot, the businessman whose desire to accumulate wealth brought him into a land filled with God’s enemies, and spelled out his demise (cf. Gen 14 & 18-19). Think of David, whose libido led him to committ adultery and murder a man. Think of Solomon, a man’s man who racked up women, money and weapons (against God’s commands), and, thereby, fell into idolatry and died, as far as we can tell, in pretty miserable spiritual state.
If you know anyone who thinks that the Biblical presentation of masculinity is akin to what you would find in a chauvinistic 1950s film, tell them to read their Bible, and to rethink their position.
Just a thought.