Have Christian Men Become Too Soft and Effeminate to Confront?
Men used to be the head of each household, the breadwinners who would take on all combat roles during a war and protect their families against all attacks. In the home, they would lead the family in prayer and moral instruction. Sadly, feminists seem to have emasculated such men, and no amount of Viagra will help.
Liberal, feminist values have creeped silently into churches as well, and are unquestioned as if the norm. Pastors don’t seem as masculine as they once were. Sermons seem soft, effeminate, and conciliatory compared to anything that the Puritan preachers of Colonial America would have represented. Same church, same God, but different men leading. The one church ascendant, the other in decline.
Men in the congregation act like they’re in a woman’s world, ill at ease and quiet, as if being directed where to go and what to do. Nor do most come home to a well-managed, well-ordered, family-centered home. The women are absent, except in the evenings. Kids fend for themselves without moral guidance, cooped up all day in spiritless schools and government programs.
In contrast, Muslim men at every level are masculine, not afraid to challenge evil in the streets or confront intolerable social practices like gay sex. If Christianity is in worldwide decline, unable to stand up to a more aggressive secularism, then we should certainly study the toughness of Islam to find out what we’re missing in terms of confrontation.
No, just because Muslims pray each day doesn’t mean that Christians should cease doing so, throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Same applies to a lot of other things that Muslims do that differ from our own practices. Fundamentalists are fundamentalists, in opposition to secularists. Christians need to adopt and modify as necessary, watching the common ground, while avoiding extremes that cross the line of what’s acceptable.
A Scottish Pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) was almost clairvoyant in seeing how feminists would emasculate men and send Christianity into decline more than a century later:
For there is some danger of falling into a soft and effeminate Christianity, under the plea of a lofty and ethereal theology. Christianity was born for endurance…It walks with firm step and erect frame; it is kindly, but firm; it is gentle, but honest; it is calm, but not facile; obliging, but not imbecile; decided, but not churlish. It does not fear to speak the stern word of condemnation against error, nor to raise its voice against surrounding evils, under the pretext that it is not of this world.
It does not shrink from giving honest reproof lest it come under the charge of displaying an unchristian spirit. It calls sin ‘sin,’ on whomsoever it is found, and would rather risk the accusation of being actuated by a bad spirit than not discharge an explicit duty. Let us not misjudge strong words used in honest controversy. Out of the heat a viper may come forth; but we shake it off and feel no harm.
The religion of both Old and New Testaments is marked by fervent outspoken testimonies against evil. To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity. It is a betrayal of the cause of truth and righteousness. If anyone should be frank, manly, honest, cheerful (I do not say blunt or rude, for a Christian must be courteous and polite), it is he who has tasted that the Lord is gracious, and is looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.
I know that charity covereth a multitude of sins; but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies, because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit. Crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness and worldliness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height of attainment.
It’s good to know that some sermons actually stand the test of time. Thanks to Tim Challies for suggesting this quote in “Soft, Effeminate Christianity” where he says that “Bonar is warning against a kind of soft and, in his word, effeminate Christianity, that may come about when Christians are too afraid to fight for what is right and to protest against what is wrong.”