Tag Archives: Feminized Church

I like playing Sorcery Quest more than I like singing in church

I promised a friend of mine that I would go to church today, so I picked a 7 PM evening service and in the meantime, I’ve been playing an online game called Sorcery Quest (but they only give you 20 minutes a day to play! Boo!) and listening to those apologetics lectures that I ordered. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I don’t want to church but would rather stay home and play Sorcery Quest and listen to apologetics lectures instead.

One of those 3 activities is not like the others.

Which one doesn’t belong?

  • Playing Sorcery Quest
  • Listening to apologetics lectures
  • Singing in church

I’ll tell you which one doesn’t belong: singing in church. Because that’s for girls.

That’s right, I said it. Singing is for girls. But Sorcery Quest and apologetics is for boys.

Sorcery Quest

Let’s take a look at the blurb on the Sorcery Quest web site and see what Sorcery Quest is about.

Here’s the web site blurb:

Create a group of adventurers and embark on a fantastic journey where you will fight evil monsters and gain experience, find treasures, gold and fame, create your own guild, and, if you dare, enter the arena and challenge other players!

Here is a promotional video:

Here is the text from the trailer:

  • Ten locations to visit
  • Twenty character classes to choose from
  • Over 60 unique monsters
  • Collect more than 100 items
  • (Fight!) Classic gameplay
  • Turn-based combat
  • Explore a vast world filled with treasures
  • Play today for free

This is what boys like. Adventure!

Christian apologetics

Now I’ll write up a similar blurb for Christian apologetics.

  • Hundreds of universities, workplaces and restaurants to visit
  • Dozens of arguments to choose from across various academic disciplines
  • Hundreds of unique monsters, including university professors, feminists, fascists, Hollywood celebrities, left-wing journalists and village atheists
  • Collect thousands of magical books, debates, and lectures
  • Classic gameplay – gain experience, build your skills and assemble a team of brave adventurers to wage war on evil behind enemy lines
  • Turn-based combat
  • Explore a vast universe filled with powerful, effective scientific and historical evidence
  • Play today for free

I could go on and on about how exciting defending the faith is! Apologetics is something that boys like as much as they like Sorcery Quest or reading the Lord of the Rings. Adventure! In fact, Lee Strobel’s new book is all about public, personal apologetics being adventurous!

The feminized church

Now here’s a similar blurb for the feminized church, which is nothing like either Sorcery Quest, or Christian apologetics. (Note: this is exaggerated for effect)

  • Never learn any of the excellent reasons why the Bible is reliable or trustworthy, or even how to test its claims
  • Believe things without anyone explaining why you should believe them
  • Avoid discussing the evil happening in the world, and don’t make plans to do anything about it
  • Avoid discussing anti-Christian, anti-liberty policies being enacted by Obama
  • Help people to feel comfortable with their lack of engagement by talking about the weather, television shows and movies
  • Avoid hurting people’s feelings by expressing your views, or worse, by disagreeing with them
  • Sit next to screaming babies who need their diapers changed
  • Sing songs about your emotions with a crowd of strangers who will never talk to you about anything interesting
  • Have your aggressive male nature and apologetics knowledge suppressed by stuffy, insecure church pastors
  • After the sermon, hear about everyone else’s home renovations, children’s graduations and vacation plans

And so on… (add yours in the comments). This is just not going to attractive for boys. We want danger! Adventure! Collecting things! Exploring! Fighting! Winning! Scoring points! But all of that is forbidden in the feminized church.

So, this whole feminized church thing no good for boys.

Fortunately, the church I have to go to is far away so it will be a long drive – which is dangerous. I drive a triple-black convertible roadster – which is dangerous. And the friend who asked me to go to church is a wood-elf Princess – so that’s a quest. (She lines in a rural area, and so I can plausibly imagine that she is an elf). And she already has a reward for me, (a book of some sort, autographed), – that’s a treasure. She may also give me some of the magical elven food that she makes.

So, that’s something, at least. With a little imagination, church could be fun for me.

Maybe something exciting will happen to me on the way to church? A dragon could attack me and I could defeat him and steal his treasure. Maybe a magical sphinx will appear and refuse to let me into the church unless I answer 3 riddles? Why can’t church be more adventurous like that? Why can’t I ever disagree with people in church? Why can’t the whole church ever watch a debate? Why can’t I learn something that I can actually use to fight and win over non-Christians? Why can’t we link what the pastor says with the real world?

My visit to church

I’m back! I got there a half-hour early. The minister was a Reformed Baptist (I’m not a Calvinist, though) and he preached on the meaning of the ordinance of eating bread and wine, i.e. – Communion. And it was great because he explained what an ordinance was, and what a sacrament was, and he occasionally compared the Protestant beliefs with the Catholic beliefs about Communion. But he didn’t try to talk about any evidence for who was right, he just said that different people have different opinions – like tastes in food I suppose.

All the songs were about what God has done, nothing about how we feel about him. So that was good. I even sang “Crown him with many crowns” very quietly. (I sat at the back where no one would notice me). Nobody raised their hands during worship. So that was good. Raising your hands and stuff is just weird, because it just is! Weird! So the worship was right on target.

I took tons of notes. He used 1 Corinthians 10 and 11. Everybody knows that 1 Corinthians is one of Paul’s angry letters, like Galatians. Paul seems to take theology and apologetics so seriously, much more seriously than Christians in church today.

It was a communion service. He told us what we should be thinking about when we take communion (the bread and wine) and what we should not think about. He explained why this was a very serious thing to participate in. This part was really awesome! Because it was judgmental.

You guys can e-mail me if you want to know who the pastor was. You’ll recognize his name for certain if I tell you.

I went into the church book store, and they had an apologetics section with old-earth books, intelligent design books, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland and Lee Strobel. AND THEY HAD DEBATES ON DVD WITH RICHARD DAWKINS AND CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS!!!!!! I took pictures of them with my cell phone! But the theology section was all filled with Calvinism, of course, but I can’t help that. The book store was huge.

My Dad is also very happy that I went to church. I usually only go about once a quarter these days. Normally I go to a non-Reformed Baptist church.

What I thought of going to church

Now nothing I learned today was useful for engaging non-Christians in public, but I learned lots of other new things. It’s important to compare different beliefs and say who is right and who is wrong, and why. He didn’t explain any of the why – no evidence was discussed for anything he said. But arguments and evidence is what makes Christianity interesting!

I do think that churches need to have the occasional service taught by a scholar on an apologetics topic, once a quarter. I insist that it be to the entire church. If only someone could come in and explain to them about the kalam argument, the fine-tuning, the origin of life, the fossil record, irreducible complexity, the moral argument, consciousness, the problem of suffering, the hiddenness of God, the fate of the unevangelized, postmodernism, and middle knowledge.

And they need to cover the minimal facts case for the resurrection once a quarter in the normal service. And they’ll need to talk about abortion, marriage, persecution of Christians abroad, and other issues like that. If you don’t talk about the evidence pro and con, because you are afraid of upsetting the people who are there to have emotional experiences, then you run the risk that people will begin to believe that religion is divorced from truth. That’s what I mean when I say “the feminized church”. When you don’t link it to the evidence in the real world, people think that it’s not real.

How I would fix the church

I am sponsoring a couple of events next year where Greg Koukl will be speaking and he will be allowed to address the entire congregation in two Sunday services. Also, I am sponsoring another event where he will debate in a church. That’s all I wanted! As long as all the people who attend the church get the idea that Christianity is about the real world, and that it’s OK to ask questions, then I am happy. And I have a plan I am executing to help churches be more focused on truth and apologetics.

Right now, we have a shortage of young people, especially men, attending church. My recommendation is that pastors immediately begin involving apologetics material in their main Sunday sermons. And I do mean EVIDENTIAL apologetics, not pre-suppositionalism. Young people who see evidence from the world being discussed in the main church service will get the message that the claims of Christianity are objective, and testable. Right now, the reason they are dropping out is that they are not seeing that Christianity is objectively true.

Personal preferences and feelings cannot be debated. But truth claims can be debated, and that’s adventurous and dangerous.

Further study

Are there objective truths about God?

In a lecture entitled “Are there Objective Truths About God?”, philosopher William Lane Craig address the postmodern skepticism of logic that seems to be so fashionable these days, especially on campus and in the “emergent church” movement.

Here’s the link to the lecture audio and the lecture outline.

What is a self-refuting statement?

The main concept in the lecture is the logical concept of self-refutation. A self-refuting sentence is a sentence that, if true, makes itself false or meaningless. For example, if someone said to you: “there are no meaningful sentences longer than 5 words”. Or if they said, “it’s wrong to make moral judgments”. Those statements are self-refuting.

What is truth?

Craig assumes the common-sense correspondence theory of truth. This theory holds that “truth” is a property of a proposition such that if the proposition is true, then it corresponds to the external world. For example, if I claim that there is a crocodile in your closet and we find a crocodile in your closet, then my statement was true. No crocodile in your closet means my statement was false.

Are there objective truths about God?

There are 3 objections discussed in the William Lane Craig lecture. Each objection seeks to make religion subjective, (true for each person, like food preferences), in order to minimize the incumbency and prescriptive force of Christian theology and Christian moral teachings.

Objection #1:The Challenge of Verificationism

The first challenge is that religious claims cannot be verified using the 5 senses, and therefore religious statements are objectively meaningless.

Consider the statement “Only propositions that can be verified with the 5 senses are meaningful”. That statement cannot be verified with the 5 senses. If the statement is true, it makes itself meaningless. It’s self-refuting.

Objection #2: The Challenge of Mystical Anti-Realism

The second challenge is that religious claims, and claims about God, are neither true nor false.

Consider the statement “No statements about God can be true or false”. That statement itself is a statement about God. If the statement is true, then it is neither true nor false. It’s self-refuting.

Objection #3: The Challenge of Radical Pluralism

The third challenge is that each person invents an entire reality of their own, and that there is no mind-independent objective world shared by individuals.

Consider the statement “There is no objective reality shared by all individuals”. That statement is a statement that applies to all individuals. If the statement is true, then it only applies to the speaker’s subjective reality, not to everyone else. It’s self-refuting.

Conclusion

Craig ends the lecture by arguing that it is OK to think that other people’s views are false. It does not follow that just because Christians think other people’s views are wrong that they am going to mistreat other people. In fact, in Christianity it is objectively true that it is good to love your enemies. It is objectively true that all human beings have value, because human beings are made by God.

In Christianity, I am absolutely obligated to treat people with whom I disagree with respect and gentleness (1 Pet 3:15-16). The more convinced I am about that belief, the better my opponents will be treated. A stronger belief in Christianity means more tolerance for those who disagree.

My personal experiences with “Christian” postmodernism

Growing up, I was often confronted with the idea that God was beyond logic and beyond reason. Imagine my surprise as a conservative young Christian to find out that church and campus club leadership had embraced postmodernism, and were very skeptical of controversial doctrines like Hell, exclusive salvation, inerrancy and authorial intent.

As I grew older, I began to uncover why the postmoderns in leadership believed that God is not bound by the laws of logic. It was because of their desire for popularity. They did not want to have to confront people with exclusive and judgmental Christian claims. They did not want to have defend these ideas as true, using evidence – because that would involve work.

Postmodern Christians would say to atheists, “Christianity is true for me, and atheism is true for you“, in order to be accepted. And they would feel, emotionally and intuitionally, that non-judmentalism and non-exclusivism was right. Postmodernism was their way to avoid wasting time on theology and apologetics, (although technically, it did involve lying to people about God’s character).

Postmodern Christians were also very hostile towards apologetics, because “knowing for certain” took away their ability to doubt. They could keep God at arms-length when he was morally demanding, while keeping him within arm’s reach for emotional support. God existed for postmoderns when they needed comfort, and he didn’t exist when they wanted autonomy.

For further study

A debate between a Christian and a postmodern. You can see for yourself how gentle Peter Williams is during this dialog with someone with whom he disagrees. His objective is to persuade – to win her over. Also, what about those who have never heard of Jesus? What about the problems of evil and suffering?

Also, for extra credit, Super-commenter ECM sent me this post from David Thompson a few days back, in which Thompson interviewed Dr. Stephen Hicks on postmodernism in academia. The post also describes the link between postmodernism and socialism. This is a great post!

Douglas Groothuis on the Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement

I found a link to this article by Doug Groothuis on the importance of Christian apologetics over at Truthbomb Apologetics. He doesn’t necessarily endorse my snarkiness in this post, though.

Doug’s article is call-to-arms for Christians who do not view the defense of the faith as an integral part of their Christian life. In this post on why men are fleeing the feminized church I argued that apologetics is a necessary part of a healthy two-way relationship with God and that it also engages the men to express their masculinity in a Christian way.

Groothuis starts by recommending 3 books on the lack intellectual rigor in the evangelical church, and he then goes on to lay out 6 “enemies” to the task of apologetics.

First, the 3 books:

Mark Noll’s “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” (Eerdmans, 1994) explores the historical roots of evangelical anti-intellectualism. Os Guinness’ “Fit Bodies, Fat Minds” (Baker Books, 1994), discusses some of the historical problems and also outlines what a Christian mind should look like. J.P. Moreland’s “Love Your God with all of Your Mind” (Navpress, 1997) explains why Christians don’t think, develops a biblical theology of the mind, and offers helpful apologetic arguments and strategies to empower the church intellectually.

I’ve read all of them and LYGWYM is by far the best. J.P. Moreland is a warrior. Videos and audio of his university campus lectures are here.

Enemy #1: We don’t really love God or our neighbors

If we really cared about God like we say we do, then we would care enough to defend his reputation in public. If we really loved our neighbor and believed that they need to follow Jesus in order to be reconciled with God, we would tell them that. But we don’t really care enough about God when his reputation is slammed in public. We don’t care that our neighbor has false beliefs, such as a belief in the eternal universe.

Groothuis writes:

Too many Christians don’t seem to care that Christianity is routinely ridiculed as outdated, irrational, and narrow-minded in our culture. They may complain that this “offends” them (just as everyone else is complaining that one thing or another “offends” them), but they do little to counteract the charges by offering a defense of the Christian world view in a variety of settings. Yet Scripture commands all Christians to have a reason for the hope that is within them and to present this with gentleness and respect to unbelievers (1 Peter 3:15).

Our attitude should be that of the Apostle Paul who was “greatly distressed” when he beheld the idolatry of sophisticated Athens. This zeal for the truth of God led him into a fruitful apologetic encounter with the thinkers gathered to debate new ideas (see Acts 17). It should for us as well. Just as God “so loved the world” that he sent Jesus to set us right with God (John 3:16), Jesus’ disciples should so love the world that they endeavor to reach the lost by presenting the Gospel and answering objections to the Christian faith (John 17:18).

Enemy #2: We distort Christian teachings in order to avoid disputes with other religions

As a result of the feminization of the church, we have altered our theology in order to “get along” with other religions that conflict with ours. Instead of wrestling with the competing truth claims of other religions, we just change the nature of our religion from objective knowledge to personal preference. If the Bible claims that Jesus rose from the dead, we reinterpret that historically testable claim as a preference claim. If the Bible says that the universe began to exist, we reinterpret that scientifically testable claim as a preference claim.

And it goes double for moral judgments and soteriological claims. The easiest way to make peace with people in these other religions is by dropping everything that offends our neighbors in other religions, like moral judgments and exclusive salvation. We simply decided that if Christianity claimed X and some other religion claimed not-X, that both could somehow be right. But this irrationality divorced Christianity from reason and made it into a personal preference instead of objective knowledge. It’s now just another option in the self-help buffet.

Groothuis says:

For some Christians, faith means belief in the absence of evidence and argument. Worse yet, for some faith means belief in spite of evidence to the contrary. The more irrational our beliefs, the better–the more “spiritual” they are… When Christians opt for irrationalism, they become just another “religious option,” and are classified along with Heaven’s Gate, the Flat Earth Society, and other intellectually impaired groups.

Enemy #3: We refuse to learn the evidences that support Christianity

We spend almost no time reading the kinds of non-fiction books that would inform us so that we are prepared to defend our beliefs. Instead, we put our best effort, our money and our thinking into school, work and other secular pursuits. We give Christianity a piece of our lives, and only allow it to serve us. We never serve it. We read fiction, watch TV and movies, pursue romantic relationships and play video games. But we have no time for preparing a defense based on actual facts and arguments.

Groothuis says:

Many Christians are not aware of the tremendous intellectual resources available to defend “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). This is largely because many major churches and parachurch organizations virtually ignore apologetics… Few evangelical sermons ever address the evidence for the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus, the justice of hell, the supremacy of Christ, or the logical problems with nonChristian worldviews. Christian bestsellers, with rare exceptions, indulge in groundless apocalyptic speculations, exalt Christian celebrities (whose characters often do not fit their notoriety), and revel in how-to methods.

Enemy #4: We refuse to defend God if it means being unpopular

Somehow, we have gotten the idea that the purpose of Christianity is for us to be happy. Being popular and accepted by non-Christians makes us happy. Therefore, we want to be popular. To be popular, we avoid being divisive with non-Christians. Moral judgments are divisive. Exclusive salvation is divisive. Christianity teaches moral rules and exclusive salvation. Therefore, we don’t talk about Christianity in order to avoid being divisive so that we can be popular and have the happy feelings that God wants us to have. But this is nowhere in the Bible.

Groothuis says:

In our pluralistic culture, a “live and let live” attitude is the norm, and a capitulation to social pressure haunts evangelicalism and drains its convictions. Too many evangelicals are more concerned about being “nice” and “tolerant” than being biblical or faithful to the exclusive Gospel found in their Bibles. Not enough evangelicals are willing to present and defend their faith in challenging situations, whether at school, at work, or in other public settings. The temptation is to privatize faith, to insulate and isolate it from public life entirely. Yes, we are Christians (in our hearts), but we have difficulty engaging anyone with what we believe and why we believe it. This is nothing less than cowardice and a betrayal of what we say we believe.

He goes on to exegete Colossians 4:2-6, Matthew 5:11-12, 1 Peter 4:14, Romans 1:16 and Matthew 28:18-20. The Bible just doesn’t support this anti-apologetics stance that seems to be so popular in the feminized church.

I’m out of space: …I’d like to say something about the other 2 enemies, but I am out of space. But that will just encourage you to click on the link and read the rest of the article, right?

Why men stay away from the feminized church

On the Biola University site, I found a book review of a new book by David Murrow called “Why Men Hate Going to Church”.

Here’s the problem:

There are generally more women than men in every type of church, in every part of the world, according to church growth experts like Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World. A traditional explanation is that women are more spiritual than men. But the leaders of this new movement suggest that the church’s music, messages and ministries cater to women.

…In America, among evangelical churches, 57 percent of members are women and, among mainline Protestant churches, 66 percent are women, according to a 1998 book American Evangelicalism (University of Chicago Press).

The problem is that the church has become feminized, and men don’t like that, and so, they leave.

Here’s more:

To describe many women, Murrow lists traits like “relational,” “nurturing” and “peace-making.” He describes many men as “goal-driven,” “competitive” and “adventurous.” These differences show up in the types of movies many women and many men like: romantic vs. adventure films, Murrow said. In sum, women thrive when secure, and men thrive when challenged, he said.

As Christianity became more feminized, it began to focus more on producing emotional satisfaction. But men want something different.

The article goes on to quote one of my favorite Christian writers, Nancy Pearcey, an expert in apologetics and theology.

…many people think of church only as a nurturing place that addresses personal needs, Pearcey said. Think: sitting in circles, sharing feelings, holding hands, singing softly, comforting members. An example of the feminization of the church is its music. Typical praise songs refer to Jesus as a Christian’s lover and praise his beauty and tenderness. Rarely do they praise his justice or strength, or refer to him as the head of an army leading his church into spiritual battle, like “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

All of the outward facing disciplines within Christianity, such as apologetics, theology, ethics, etc. are de-emphasized, censored or resisted in feminized churches. There is no place for rationality, moral judgments and boundaries, debates and disagreement, confrontations and persuasion, or other manly Christian practices.

Christianity is evangelical, and evangelism takes study and preparation, which culminates in confrontations and discussions. The object of these discussions is not to win the argument. It is to win the person over to your side. So facts and arguments play a huge role in  evangelism, but there has to be gentleness too, if you actually want to win. And this is what Christian men are supposed to do. But does the church support it?

Another turn-off for men is touchy-feely sermons. Pearcey said the modern church stresses emotions and inner spiritual experiences while neglecting the intellectual side of the faith.

“The more traditionally masculine side of Christianity enjoys crossing swords with hostile secular worldviews. So, as long as Christianity appeals to the emotional, therapeutic, interpersonal, relational areas, it’s not going to appeal to men as much as to women,” Pearcey said.

Churches should engage men’s intellects to help them see the relevance of Christianity to the “real” world of politics, industry and business, Pearcey said.

“We have to recover the notion that Christianity is true on all levels, not just for your emotional life or repairing relationships, as important as those things are,” she said.

Christian men love apologetics and they also love theology, philosophy, ethics, science and history. We love competition. Anything testable that can be debated! Anything where there is a clear winner and loser.

Many churches emphasize Jesus’ softer teachings, like his love and his desire to save, and they ignore the doctrines of sin and hell, according to Podles. But men dislike liberal Christianity — “a mild religion of progress and enlightenment” as opposed to a battle between good and evil, Podles said.

Men want to expend their lives for a great cause, even if it involves risk, according to Murrow. He said that’s why the U.S. military’s “Army of One” campaign was effective. But American churches rarely teach about Christian suffering and martyrdom, Murrow said. Instead, today’s Christianity is presented as an antidote to these things, he said.

And men thrive on risk, adventure and achievement:

“Men are more attracted to religion if it presented as a quest, an adventure, a heroic exploit,” Pearcey said. “They want something challenging, bracing, demanding.”

To reach men, churches should stress the cost and dangers of following Christ — including Christians’ conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil, according to Podles.

Yet, men should be reminded that the sacrifice won’t always be a “huge, glorious display like William Wallace stepping out on a battlefield,” Erre said. Many times it will be staying in a troubled marriage, raising a handicapped child, or working a hated job to provide for a family, he said.

Many women believe that the purpose of Christianity is to be happy and to make others happy by not discussing controversial things like religion. They do not attach the same importance as men do to the duty to be an informed ambassador for Christ, trained in apologetics, and able to persuade others about God’s existence and character. They do not believe that the Lord’s reputation needs to be defended in public in the same way that men do.

Many women also don’t want to be confronted about their beliefs by informed men, because their beliefs are based more on intuition and emotion. They would rather be accepted and affirmed – and so they favor men who don’t know much about the details of Christianity. So manly Christian skills; theology, apologetics, ethics, philosophy, history, science, etc. are not valued in the feminized church.

Touchy-feely sermons come from touchy-feely pastors. A feminized church tends to attract more “gentle, sensitive, nurturing” leadership,” according to Pearcey.

“If religion is defined primarily in terms of emotional experience and is therapeutic, then who is it going to attract as ministers?” she said.

Pearcey said to consider a typical youth pastor.

“He’s really into relationships, very motivating, but is he teaching good apologetics? Is he teaching youth to use their minds and to understand deeper theological truths? At least the ones I’ve known haven’t,” she said. “Today, the common trajectory is for youth pastors to become senior pastors,” she added.

Maybe women should be more sensitive to male needs and character, and more concerned about what the Bible teaches about the the role of apologetics in the Kingdom of God.

If you want to know what Christian men look like, check out this profile of Christian philosopher and apologist Paul Copan on Truthbomb Apologetics. If you want to see one tough and effective Christian lady, visit Denyse O’Leary’s blogs: Post-Darwinist, Mindful Hack and Colliding Universes.

UPDATE 1: Here is an essay I saw on Truthbomb about the need for apologetics, by Norman Geisler.

UPDATE 2: Welcome visitors from the Anchoress! Thanks for the link. Forgive me if this post was a bit mean, but consider it a cry for reconciliation between men and women in the church. I recommend that everyone make the Anchoress a daily read, as she integrates her faith very well with the issues of the day!

UPDATE 3: I noticed this post linked over on the Anchoress. It talks about what men like and don’t like in the church. But keep in mind that this is a poll of men ALREADY in the church, so these ones are more accepting of the feminization of church already. The men outside the church would be less likely to put up with the feminization of church.

Just one quote:

Sixty per cent said they did not like flowers and embroidered banners in church, while 52 per cent did not like dancing in church…Nearly three quarters, or 72 per cent, said their favourite part of a service was the talk or sermon.

There’s a list of hymns that men do like, as well.