Men and the Gospel: Theses and a Resolution

1. Real manhood is found neither in books nor in brawn. An educated man is a good thing. A strong man is a good thing. But a Christian man must not neglect one or the other but rather love his God with both mind and strength.

Intelligence and strength are great gifts: let us use them for more than mating rituals, video games, brawling, and pumping iron. We must offer these things as a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12.1). Our mind and strength must be dedicated to God’s will, not our own, until the two wills become one new, whole man.

2. “Everybody knows what’s wrong with young men, nobody knows what to do about it.” -Mark Driscoll

Most young men in this age do not have their dads at home to teach them how to be a man. This was the case with me. Mothers are great at raising sons, but without a father, sons have a hard time becoming men. Families fell apart for many reasons, but one of them was the loss of a strong and masculine gospel. Without fathers, in heaven and on earth, young men are listless. There isn’t anyone to tell us what to do and make us do it until we love to do it. No author would ever have written unless his teacher made him. That’s how we’re wired: we learn by example, we do what we’re made to, then we do what we want to, and set an example. Fatherlessness breaks that chain. That brokenness led to the problem Driscoll is talking about. We can only fix it by reasserting a strong, masculine gospel–the one our forebears lived and died for, the one that can bind us together and make us men. 

3. Boot camp, the actual thing and anything that feels like it, is something that was made for men, that men hate while they’re in it, and are proud of for the rest of their lives.

Men want to do hard things, however much they complain about it. Boot camp is a defining experience. The goal is very clear, but the obstacles are seemingly insurmountable. Some people wash out, but most make it through and become soldiers. The Gospel is boot camp. God called men to challenge and to sacrifice themselves. There is nothing easy, and everything noble, about dedicating your life as an offering to God. This is the task the Gospel calls us to. Men should be seduced by the cross in the same way that they are seduced by the stars and stripes and the patriotic romance of battle: the church should be full of ardent young men, working hard to bring Christ’s kingdom home. But it isn’t. Our grandparents wavered, our parents failed, and we are left with the ashes.

4. Men face two ditches: machismo and cowardice.

On one side, we can fear to do the things we must–the hard things that catapult us far down the road to success in life and in sanctification, things like asking permission to date a girl or being really, really prepared for the big Chem test or the GRE. Cowardice comes from sin, of course, and fatherlessness: the sin-chasm in our hearts provokes fear when we’re confronted with difficulty, and we have no example for doing otherwise. We flee from dangerous and unpleasant things.

The other ditch is machismo. This is a testosterone-fueled pride in our manhood. This is also a fruit of fatherlessness–of overcompensating for it. Machismo is forgetting our utter insignificance compared with God, and acting as if we ruled over women and the circumstances of our lives. Where cowardice looks at a problem and flees from it, or solves it in the easiest way possible, machismo looks and solves it in the most self-aggrandizing way possible. “What will make me look good? What will make me look more like a man?” Both these ditches lead to death: death from ignoring the way we were created. Men are problem-solving machines, and this world is problematic. Christ came and died and rose to fix the Problem here, and we men, who have been filled with His spirit, are finishing the job in His name and with His power in our hearts, hands, and minds. Cowardice is ignoring that duty and privilege, machismo is doing it for our glory rather than for His. God forgive us.

5. Someone seeking to be a real man cannot just look at what women do and do the opposite. Look at what Paul and Peter did, and do that. 

RESOLVED.

Men need to fight for something, but only when they fight for the Gospel, against the Deceiver, and constantly keep this in mind, will our fight be worthwhile. Men need to sacrifice, but if we don’t do it for the Gospel, it is emptiness.

Growing up in a fatherless home made me weak. Christ made me strong. His intoxicating Gospel made me a man. His Father became mine. And now, if I can, I am going to use this blog to beget something bigger: a group of young men who want to preach the gospel by what we hear, see, speak, listen to, read, watch, wear, and do.

That means this blog will be full of good stuff to read, see, wear, and do. That’s what Christ has laid on us to do in this life: to do it for His honor, to do it sacrificially, and to profit by it and bring His kingdom home through it.

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2 thoughts on “Men and the Gospel: Theses and a Resolution

  1. “Someone seeking to be a real man cannot just look at what women do and do the opposite.”
    Nice point, well put.

    “Look at what Paul and Peter did, and do that. ”
    He shoots…he misses. How about “Look at what Jesus did, and do that”. Might be a better prescription.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Mark. I should have clarified that statement. I know that Peter and Paul are flawed role models because they aren’t Christ. However, in imitating Christ, we should also imitate the pros–like Peter and Paul. But yes, imitation of Christ undoubtedly comes first.

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