Why don’t men go to church anymore? The decline of male church attendance

Church sucks, that's why men are bored there
Church sucks, that’s why men are bored there

I most recently spent half a year at a PCA church, and then another half a year at a Southern Baptist church. I attended Sunday services as well as Wednesday night Bible study. I am now looking for a new church. For now, I just look around for a sermon I like and listen to that. In this post, I’ll explain why I think men don’t like church.

There are three areas where churches fail to attract men:

    1. Apologetics
    2. Feminism, sex and marriage
    3. Policy and current events

Apologetics

The PCA church discouraged me from becoming a member of the church because they said that conversion to Christianity due to reason and evidence was contrary to their teachings, and a “red flag”. Their words. I didn’t try to fight them on it, because they are Reformed Presbyterian, and this is their actual view. Their approach to apologetics was “pre-suppositional”, which is to say, they try to convince people to become Christians by asking them to assume that the Bible is infallible, without any argumentation or evidence. Naturally, this doesn’t work, so they aren’t trained to answer any serious questions from non-Christians. (1 Pet 3:15-16)

The Reformed Baptist SBC church is led by people like Russell Moore and Al Mohler, who take the “magic words” approach to evangelism. I.e. – they think that people become Christians just by speaking Bible verses out of context to them. So, when the atheist asks “do you have any evidence for God’s existence?” or “do you have any evidence for Jesus’ resurrection?”, their response is to quote Bible verses to the atheist, which have nothing to do with those topics. Christianity has lost so much influence in the culture under their approach, which is not even Biblical. (Mat 12:38–41)

These approaches to evangelism are not used in any other area of human endeavor. No one replies to questions about auto mechanics, or software engineering, or gardening, or cooking, by spouting Bible verses. In literally every other area of human endeavor, the laws of logic and supporting evidence are seen as assets when making claims to know something about the world to someone who disagrees with you.

Feminism, Sex and Marriage

First wave feminism simply asked for women to be given the same liberty and opportunity as men. That was good. But later versions of destroyed all distinctions between men and women. By destroying femininity, feminism directed women away from the traditional life plan of marriage, children and home-making.

Feminism changed how women voted. Today, about 75% of young, unmarried women vote for policies like taxpayer-funded birth control, taxpayer-funded abortion, no-fault divorce, affirmative action for women in schools and in the workplace, taxpayer-funded daycare, public schools, single-mother welfare, social security, etc. These policies and programs raised tax rates, and grew government, making it easier for women to have children without having to choose a marriage-ready man she wasn’t attracted to. Instead, she could choose men she was attracted to, and just use government programs as a substitute provider if it didn’t “work out”. Thanks to feminism, we have a 42% out-of-wedlock birth rate, and it’s rising. Few female college graduates are debt-free. About 5% of women emerge from college as virgins.

Under feminism, the traditional male roles and virtues were deemed “sexist”. Women were shamed for choosing early marriage, large families, and stable men who were good at being husbands and fathers. Instead, women today chose men based on appearance. They spend their 20s and early 30s giving men who will not commit to them premarital sex. The men who are getting sex thrown at them have no interest in Judeo-Christian values, chastity, fidelity, commitment or raising children. Women mistake the men’s willingness to have sex and cohabitate as signs that they are close to marriage. But in fact, chasing the hot bad boys just eats up the chastity, youth and beauty that could have made them interesting to the marriage-minded men they scorned. Later on, they realize that they’ve wasted their 20s on bad boys, but by then they are not attractive for marriage.

What has the response been to feminism from pastors and churches? They accept the anti-male, anti-marriage policies, that came out of feminism. They accept the promiscuity, and the marriage-delaying that came from feminism. Today, pastors just try to bully the men who were passed over to marry the women who had previously rejected them, despite the higher risk of divorce caused by the women’s past behavior.

Policy and current events

Most pastors are anti-intellectual, and they believe that this is a virtue, since they are focused narrowly on what the Bible explicitly says. Because of this, they aren’t able to understand which laws and policies allow Christianity and Christian families to flourish. I agree that what the Bible speaks about is of the highest importance. But we need to understand how to achieve the goals that the Bible states, as well as how to counter the forces that threaten the achievement of those goals.

For example, Christianity thrives when marriage thrives. Christianity is passed on from parents to children. Anything that threatens marriage, or interferes with parental authority, weakens the influence of Christianity. So, policies like higher taxes, no-fault divorce, SOGI laws, all harm the Christian family, while policies like lower taxes, protections for Christian businesses, protection for Christian schools (statements of faith, moral codes), etc. are all good for Christian families. But most pastors never talk about policies or laws, because they don’t think about how to defend the Christian worldview, how to educate Christian children, how to promote marriage, how promote Christian moral values in the public square. Even protecting the right to life of unborn children is ignored.

As the churches lose relevance, it becomes tempting for pastors to accept what the secular left promotes as good and true and beautiful. The big one is pastors pushing for redistribution of wealth by the secular government as a solution to “poverty”, even though the Bible only sanctions voluntary charity. This diminishes the cultural relevance of the church and elevates the secular government. SBC leaders like Russell Moore champion amnesty for refugees and unskilled illegal immigrants, not realizing how it will harm Christian institutions and values down the road to import large numbers of people who will eventually vote for policies like higher taxes, bigger government, etc.

21 thoughts on “Why don’t men go to church anymore? The decline of male church attendance”

  1. Love your posts! Check out findthechurch.com. No church is perfect, even from this list, as they are led by imperfect men, all we can do is ‘do the best we can’ of following God’s word and find other people who strive to do the same.

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  2. It is very interesting to read your posts as a married conservative christian man with kids in forties living in Finland where all these policies have been in force since 60-70s. Sex belongs to marriage was abondend in 60s-70s. Sex should be had only with a person you love was adandoned from 2000 to 2010. Now the fertility has dropped from 2 to 1.4. We are in a crisis and I just amuse myself by reading what the leftist says to be the reason for the decline: climate anxiety, inequality, not enough welfare, etc…
    So I agree a lot of what you say, but christians here think that how can you christian there in US oppose welfare programs. Some think that it is selfish or prosperity gospel.
    You say that charity should be voluntary. So let’s say a woman tries to find a good husband, finds one she thinks is a good one and marries and has children. Then the husband leaves without her to blame. How she gets help in your “system”? I think positive in our goverment run system is that we have professional social workers checking the real need, there are rules how much you get, it is the same for everyone and the payet base is wide. There is no begging. Do you think it should be from individual to individual or handled by church (according to bible by diacons)?
    I am with you on many things, but I would like to know how this works there.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. So she can help herself or her family can help her, but is there any role for christian charity? If she loses her job and get sick?
        I have seen studies that evangelicals/observant christians give a lot to charity. I guess there are organisations (fate based), which can help atleast in certain situations?

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        1. Believe it or not, your hypothesis that welfare helps women avoid domestic violence by enabling them to flee has been studied here in the USA. It was found to be baseless.

          To quote from page 43 of the below linked study:

          “This research has tested the hypothesis that the availability of welfare recipiency decreases the probability of domestic violence. The logic of the hypothesis is that the availability of welfare produces an exit opportunity for persons confronted by abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. By extension, policies designed to limit welfare recipiency may have the impact of increasing the probability of domestic violence.

          “We do not find support for this hypothesis in this research. Indeed, we find that welfare recipients are more likely than similarly-situated non-recipients to experience domestic violence. We do not find that welfare availability promotes exits from abusive relationships at rates
          different from non-abusive relationships.”

          https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/204008.pdf

          But while we’re speculating on what might be the case based on what sounds plausible:

          Could it be that welfare weakens the feedback signal of negative outcomes associated with partnering with the mentally deranged (who, while often superficially attractive, tend to be less employable)? In other words, with welfare, a woman may ignore signs of unemployability because, hey, the money’s still coming in. The appearance of income may fool her “red-flag checker” hindbrain into thinking that such a dark triad man is on the up-and-up, only to be lured into an abusive situation that would have been easily foreseen and avoided if welfare wasn’t papering over the man’s obvious deficiencies.

          Also from the study (page 44):

          “If indeed there is a reason to be concerned about domestic violence induced by welfare reforms, the concern may rest in increased abuse arising from females who go to work leaving intimate unemployed partners behind. “

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          1. Thanks Tom! It is just this kind of information I come here for, because our media here does not give this side of the story.
            Even though this is important piece, my focus was not ment to be on the single mother family. I chose the example poorly. The question I am searching answer is: when christians in US oppose welfare (or so it may seem), are they just less willing to help generally or do they just want to help another way (not through the goverment). So I am very happy and will distribute the correct information here, if you can provide me some.

            I can provide some insight to scandinavian system, which is promoted there by democrats.

            And again: I am with you. I also oppose part of the welfare here: e.g. unemployed here have right to free day care. Mom’s drinking latte while kids are at daycare. Our unemployment is 6.5% at the peak of economic boom = too good unemployment benefits, etc.

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        2. Government is not Christian, nor is it charity.

          If you want to perform charity, pay for it out of your own pocket. Don’t let a third party rob people of their money to pay someone so you can feel better

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          1. Ask and ye shall receive, Kristian.

            https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/30/religious-people-more-likely-give-charity-study/

            As you can see, American Christians are incredibly willing to be generous. Unfortunately, we don’t have as much money as we COULD have to give, because the welfare state takes it and uses it to pay the beauracracy and subsidize poor decision making, instead of allowing us to do it in accord with Christian parameters of charity that encourage virtue.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Was that the actual reason the PCA discouraged you from becoming a member?

    The PCA doesn’t have a monolithic approach to apologetics. In fact, the debate over apologetics is live and well in covenant theology circles.

    If true, the fact that a CT oriented church having a problem with faith based on reason and not emotion is odd. You may have been at one of the more liberal congregations. In reformed circles, there is a strong young Calvinist/new perspectives on Paul trend that is bringing emotionalism into the church. The leaders behind this are people like Tim Keller and John Piper.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I see a red flag in a worship leader having too much input on issues. Worship leaders can have one that is an exception but it allows for people that are experiential based with views that are almost right out of new age /eastern religions. With a whitewash of Christianese on top

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      2. Just that church, then. It’s certainly not the view of the PCA at large. From one PCA church to another, even withing the same presbytery, there is quite a wide diversity of opinion when it comes to apologetics. And Presuppositional apologetics does not mean we are to ignore evidence and reason. The above is equally true among the growing bumber of Reformed Southern Baptist churches.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Speaking as a student in the apologetics program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I can say that this is not the view of the apologetics faculty at SBTS. Dr. Ted Cabal is probably the central figure in that program and he is pretty eclectic. The PCA has been at the center of the meta-apologetic wars for a long time, as well as the Clarke/Van Til Feud, but if I understand their position correctly, this may be the position of the local church, not the denomination as a whole.
        I’m an “inconsistent” Calvinist (at least that seems to be the way a Supralapsarian would see me). I think Calvin got election right, but reprobation wrong, among other things. I’ve noticed that I tend to find the Scottish Presbyterian writings to be more . . . congenial and in agreement with my views than the Dutch Reformed movement. Anyway, hope that is food for thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My guess is that’s a Calvinist influenced thing. Are you wedded to Calvinist theology? Have you investigated Arminianism e.g. Free Will Baptists, Wesleyans, etc?

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  4. What’s most insidious about point number 2 is that most churches are very good at disguising feminist ideology with Christian sounding distractions. Just recently, my church was discussing the issue of Biblical gender roles in the household. The moment the pastor mentioned that wives are to submit to their husbands, there was immediate pushback, with women wanting to make sure that it was stated that men do not have the right to abuse their wives.

    Of course, everyone quickly agreed that men abusing their wives is horrible. However, I don’t think most people noticed the fact that no time was taken to discuss precisely what was meant by “abuse,” or whether or not any behavior by a husband would nullify his wife’s obligation to submit to him.

    I’m not denying that there are husbands who legitimately abuse their wives. However, in modern Feminist circles, abuse is a virtually meaningless term that has come to mean any behavior that the wife doesn’t like. Modern domestic violence tests even state that if a husband refuses to give his wife money that she wants under any set of circumstances, or objects to “harmless flirting” with another person, that these things constitute abuse.

    Beyond that, regardless of whether or not abuse is morally acceptable, there is not a single verse in the Bible that states that abuse of any kind is an acceptable reason for a wife to cease submitting to her husband. In fact 1 Peter 3:1-6 says the exact opposite.

    Again, I’m not saying that I think it is morally acceptable for husbands to abuse their wives (assuming we’re talking about actual, physical abuse), but with one off the cuff statement about some ill-defined notion of abuse, churches put women in a position to completely disregard Biblical teaching about God given gender roles.

    Any time someone draws attention to the fact that wives are not submitting to their husbands, all a woman need do is cry, “Abuse!” And the entire church will shut up.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Excellent article in terms of being accurate and assigning the specific issues and responses (and lack of) by the Church today. In short, the Western Churches and Christians are asleep and soft. The Church isn’t taking Biblical stands and are afraid of persecution and being accused of homophobic, racist, sexist etc etc etc stances on anything. The left has been successful in that regard. The more Biblical teaching that happens, the more the church grows…despite the hate and intolerance that will come at the Church.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. If we don’t have politicians elected that hate Christianity it is easier to correctly help the poor. The. New testament example is to give to the church and the elders go out to help the poor and give this way.
    If we did this with less taxes we could all give ten percent as an example to the church rather than taxes and admin rating up way more money the actual poor and needy are fed and clothed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My “excuse” is my work schedule, in which my night-shift work week begins on Sunday night, and thus I’m sleeping during the day. Saturday night services are available, but frankly, that doesn’t allow for weekly attendance given that it’s Saturday when most family events occur on Saturday. I hope to be retired in two years and finally able to return to a normal life of sleeping at night, living during the daylight hours and regular Sunday morning church services.

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