Posts Tagged ‘masculinity’
Mike McKinley, concerned at the way that complementarianism seems – in some men’s eyes – to legitimise their throwing their weight around, poses some necessary questions about a consistent complementarianism, concluding:
If you want to be a good leader, perhaps you should begin by being a good follower. If you want to know whether you are a good follower, try asking the people God has put in authority over you!
Albert Mohler has finally broken cover, acknowledging that though Lecrae does not float his boat, he is a big fan of the intricate harmonies of a capella balladeers, Boyz . . .
Oh, wrong end of the stick, apparently. Let’s try again:
Al Mohler notes that advertising is starting to reflect a world in which genuine, mature masculinity is being valued once more.
A New York Times article describes the style trajectory for the new breed in these words:
You lose the T-shirt and the skateboard. You buy an interview suit and a package of Gillette Mach 3 blades. You grow up, in other words.
The crisis of delayed manhood for so many boys and young men is now well documented, and the larger culture reflects this phenomenon. Advertising does not rule the world, but it is a powerful indicator of the cultural direction. Advertisers make it their business to know where the culture is headed. This new trend can only be seen as good news, even if it does not yet represent any profound recovery of sanity in the society.
One important aspect of this report ties directly to a vital aspect of biblical masculinity — the reality and value of a man’s work. These advertisers are [not?] shifting merely to older and more rugged males, but to men who look like they just might be able to hold a job and do it well.
That is a healthy and promising dimension of this new development. One statement from this article deserves to be imprinted on the male brain: “You grow up, in other words.”
Read it here.
PS One of the gentlemen from the popular beat combo pictured is apparently called ‘Wanya’. This can only be regarded as a retrograde step, if it is not, indeed, an entirely fictionary name.
PPS If this is true in the world, I wonder how long it will be before the skinny sk8r boiz and tattooed grungers of the professing church will suddenly find Biblical justification for looking smart and serious? Good job we are not slaves to culture . . .
Four helpful articles from the smoking keyboard of Al Mohler:
Mandatory sex education for ten year olds. Welcome to our world, Mr Mohler! Battle lines being drawn in the US that are very familiar to UK readers.
Where are the young men? Considering the absence of young men from higher education, and calling for Christian men to consider the stewardship of their minds.
The crisis of manhood. General feminisation of society drives some young men towards hypermasculinity as a way of stating their credentials, and – guess what – there are churches, as always, hanging desperately on to the coat tails of a frantic society. So we now have a Jesus who came to help us tap into our inner cage fighter. Michael McKinley chips in here.
Al Mohler addresses the creeping normalization of women in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, contrary to Pentagon doctrine and – worse – contrary to every moral norm that ought to dictate such practice. I do not know what is the situation in the British and European armed forces, but – as Dr Mohler points out – the whole thing reeks of moral and military folly. It is not about courage, but a matter of right and wrong, of role and calling, of design and capacity, of God-ordained identity and purpose.
Kevin DeYoung has an interesting post (generated by one from another blogger, I should add) about why so many New Calvinists are also complementarians, and rigorously so. He suggests at least four reasons (summarised below) why they are so closely linked:
- Historically, opening the door to egalitarianism in one generation leads to bigger errors in the next. It is a distinctly and definitely slippery slope.
- The role of men and women is a huge issue for our day. Gender issues are among the most significant in our day.
- Complementarianism tends to signify a number of other important convictions (he suggests that it usually ‘goes with’ inerrancy, penal substitution, and eternal punishment, for example). In DeYoung’s opinion, a Calvinist complementarian is a pretty safe pair of theological hands.
- Practically, it is very difficult for groups and organizations and movements to make both complementarians and egalitarians happy.
These are interesting reasons, not least because we are accustomed to hearing the so-called New Calvinists banging on about the importance of distinguishing between doctrines held in the open hand and doctrines held in the closed fist (i.e. negotiable and non-negotiable matters).
Quite apart from the fact that not all “New Calvinists” are actually Calvinists (some are Amyraldians), I am left wondering who gets to determine the open hand – closed fist classification of any doctrinal matter. Is it the loudest shouter, the most famous name, or the bloke with the biggest congregation (do downloads count)? I find it vaguely amusing that we all like to think that we can determine what are the open and closed hand issues, and vaguely worrying that complementarianism is now identified as one of the latter, when so many important matters are – relatively speaking – dismissed as the former.
I am not suggesting that the roles of men and women are unimportant issues, but there are many doctrinal matters which are, historically considered, far more slippery in a slopewise fashion than complementarianism (one might mention antinomianism or unbalanced perspectives on the person and work of the Spirit, both of which seem to be moot points among “New Calvinists”). Who decides that other issues are relatively unimportant? I can think of a whole raft of theological positions which do and do not imply faithfulness in other areas, some much more and others much less. Finally, it can be fairly tricky to keep any ‘organisation’ (one might mention the local church, for example) happy that has people in it at opposite ends of the spectrum on more significant issues.
So, a stimulating and useful post by Kevin, but one which raises more questions than it answers, and certainly demands that the same magnifying glass be employed on other equally-if-not-more-important issues.
For those who may be interested, last Sunday morning I completed a series entitled Becoming and being a Christian. Six sermons became nine in the act of preaching. The aim was to trace the trajectory of a true Christian from new life through to death and glory, glancing briefly at some of the key way-markers along the pilgrim road.
- Looking to Jesus
- A new creation in Christ
- A true Christian (1) Inconclusive indications
- A true Christian (2) Indispensable indications #1
- A true Christian (3) Indispensable indications #2
- Biblical manhood and womanhood (1) Essential equality
- Biblical manhood and womanhood (2) Distinctive identity
- Working in and working out
- The Saviour and His servant
I had a full day yesterday, and discovered myself a little under the weather in the course of it. A dull brain that refused to accept the notion that I had made any preparation, a weary and slightly fevered body, and one or two other niggles made for a long day (and that’s just how I felt it to be).
We began with Sunday School, continuing our look at the roots of godly discipline of our children by putting the nature of liberty alongside the nature of a child. Reasonably straightforward stuff, you might have thought.
The morning service kicked off badly when I discovered that my watch had finally packed up. I discovered this when I realised that the minute hand was not moving, and that I was a couple of minutes late in starting.
These, I think, are the days when we are reminded of our own dispensability, and rejoice that the kingdom is not in our hands. It never does depend on us, but how often those days come along when we are forcibly reminded of what a blessing that is.
I preached in the morning – with a fair lack of fluency – on Biblical manhood and womanhood, concentrating now on distinctive identity. I reminded the congregation of the foundation of essential equality: created dignity, native depravity, and redemptive reality. Upon this foundation we must understand that the man and women – created in God’s image – were nevertheless created male and female, with definite, defined and distinctive roles. This identity is fundamental; our relationships are determinative; our behaviour flows appropriately from our distinctive identity in terms of a given relationship (e.g. family, church, society). I highlighted some principles for men and women, deliberately giving the men the hardest time as those who are to be courageous leaders rather than irresponsible victims. I confess that the absence of manly vigour among many Christian men and churches cuts me deep. I had to set out these things more broadly than deeply, but sought also to root the recovery of our masculinity and femininity in the grace of Christ. Only at the cross are those distinctive identities restored, for while sin dehumanises, grace rehumanises.
In the evening, I preached from Hebrews 13.5 on God himself our present help. We began with the context of the promise, looking both at what lies on and beneath the surface of the exhortation to avoid covetousness and be content. The assurance of the promise lies in the fact that God himself – the faithful, merciful, powerful, insightful, eternal God – speaks with all the reliability of divinity and the force of five negatives. The history of the promise – the times and places in which God spoke these words before – reveals a fine pedigree, broad scope, and long proving of God’s faithfulness. The substance of the promise is simply God’s presence and assistance: it is a covenant affirmation that we will ever be with us to help us. The sweetness and sufficiency of the promise lie in its being anchored at the cross and meeting every possible circumstance that any child of God individually or all the people of God together might ever meet. God has it covered! Finally, there are the effects of the promise: faith, contentment, confidence, courage, and cheerfulness.
This morning I had some errands to run, and was running them at a speed commensurate with my still slightly-ropey condition: I needed replacement tyres (semi-slicks rather than off-road monsters) on my bike, and discovered simultaneously that my brakes had been set up badly, which explained something of my laborious efforts since I bought the thing! I had been blaming the tyres and the baby-seat (or, more specifically, the growing child in it). I also discovered that my watch is probably beyond repair, picked up a book from the Post Office that for some reason could not be delivered, and came home to a monster boxful of review copies that I need to start ploughing through. Where do the days go?
Ah, well. Onward and upward . . .