Tag Archives: Theological Liberalism

What’s the best way to get men back into the church?

Here’s a conversation I had with a pastor and his wife on Tuesday night. I anonymized the names. The rest is verbatim.

I’d like one of our atheist commenters like Sandwiches for Sale or Jerry to comment on this pastor and his wife.

I was mean, but I hope not TOO mean. This sort of thing really pushes my buttons, as you might expect. I tried really hard to stay calm and focused, but I could have done a lot better. I apologize to my readers for being a bit abrasive and over the top at times. I hope my language is not to harsh or disrespectful.

I think we really need to work about encouraging Christians to see a relationship with God through Christ as being… a relationship. And in a relationship, both sides are aware of the different character of the other person, and they make adjustments. It’s not a good idea to project our emotions and intuitions onto the other person and to think that our goals are their goals. It may be that we have to perform actions to hold up our end of the relationship, and that we may need to study in advance in order to know what to do and to achieve those goals effectively.

—-

Pastor:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/04/opinion/bennett-men-in-trouble/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

Why men are in trouble – CNN.com

For the first time in history women today are better educated, more ambitious, and arguably more successful than men, says William Bennett.

Pastor: Wow, even the secular media is figuring this out! Come on men! Man UP!

WK: Pastor, consider that the problem is not with men, but with an increasingly feminized society that has undermined the traditional male roles and marginalized men in the education system, the church, etc.. Not to mention misandry in the media. The denigration of men is everywhere, which undermines their ability to lead on moral and spiritual issues. Even high taxes and social programs rob men of their ability to have authority from their roles as providers.

WK: Consider just one example: no-fault divorce and single mother welfare has caused many, many young men to be raised in fatherless homes, and then they go on to attend public schools where 80%+ of the teachers are female, and the curriculum is set by females. The church is very much focused on singing and avoids apologetics. Where exactly are these men supposed to get male role models? As a society, we have become uncomfortable with men exercising authority on moral and theological issues. Denigrating men in the media, dumbing them down in femininized schools, taxing their income and replacing fathers with welfareare not going to help us to produce manly men. The opposition to apologetics in the church doesn’t help either – if we can’t talk about truth and evidence, then men stop caring about God.

Look:
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=14-01-026-f

This is a complicated issue, and you need to read a lot more about it before engaging in man blaming. If men aren’t doing well in school, ask yourself WHAT CHANGED.

Touchstone Archives: Missing Fathers of the Church
http://www.touchstonemag.com
You may have noticed that, in general, men are not as interested in religion a…
See More

Pastor: Winter…Men have to Man up.

Pastor’s Wife: Women have to step up because the MEN are not

Pastor’s Wife: I thank God I have a husband who prays for me and respects me as a wife, a woman, and a daughter of THE KING. I thank God my husband knows “headship”

WK: Wow, Pastor. Your avalanche of facts and evidence is astounding. Your voluminous, erudite catch-phrase really refutes all of the concerns I raised. I stand corrected. </sarc>

Pastor: Why are Men not attending church?

Pastor: or do you actually go there?

WK: Because the church is totally feminized. There is no emphasis on anything that men like, like apologetics or practical application to areas of knowledge like economics or politics. It’s dominated by frilly God-talk, prayers, emotions and pop authors like Joyce Meyer and Max Lucado. People are not being challenged to grow.

Pastor: So you dont go? Maybe if men went there and made changes and protest the situation instead of ARMCHAIRING it might make a difference?

Pastor: ??

WK: Please don’t engage in ad hominem. Stick to the public evidence.

Pastor: Well?

Pastor: Sorry your honor

Pastor: Have you thought that the feminizing the you alledge (with public record) could be alleviated if men took back the church?

Pastor: Winter you say Ad Hominem? //// Wow, Pastor. Your avalanche of facts and evidence is astounding. Your voluminous, erudite catch-phrase really refutes all of the concerns I raised. I stand corrected. </sarc>///What the heck?

WK: Pastor… you don’t know anything about this issue. It’s pointless to discuss it with you since you are not in command of any facts.

Pastor: So why are you?

Pastor: wow

Pastor’s Wife: Gee, wonder how many times a Christian man is going to infer my husband is stupid?

Pastor’s Wife: I pray for you…

WK: I listed about a half-dozen factors, and made one argument supported by evidence from the Touchstone Magazine article. I.e – I argued that the fatherlessness was a cause of declining religiosity, I cited the Touchstone article, then I argued that public policies like no-fault divorce and single mother welfare increase fatherlessness.

Pastor’s Wife: What about Jesus?

Pastor: I have actually EXPERIENCED my position.

WK: So far, I’ve heard nothing in response. And that’s because only one side has facts. The other side has God-talk and “I’ll pray for you”. That’s not an argument. That’s not evidence.

Pastor: Neither have I

Pastor’s Wife: ?”I AM the way the truth and the life…”….those are TRUTH from Jesus a true man and our Savior

Pastor: What are you doing about this Winter?

Pastor’s Wife: Facts and figures I care to have none, when I have a Savior that over the world has won!

WK: Again, we want to have a discussion about the public policy question, we don’t want to make the issue about my character. The issue in question is… how do we get men to lead in the Christian life.

Pastor: You know I didn’t say YOU were armchairing this but I was not supplied with any evidence that you really are wanting to change the “feminization”

Pastor’s Wife: Usually the very thing we complain about is the very thing that God has called us to go and change

Pastor: Well I see the charaacter issue going both ways here

Pastor: want to start over?

Pastor: ?//// how do we get men to lead in the Christian life.//// Well we as men need to have a deep relationship with our Father. How does that sound?

WK: There are several ideologies now present in the church that discourage men from taking an active role. I know you know these. Postmodernism and moral relativism would be two of them. Those need to be refuted. But to really get men to engage, we have to think about what men are like, and what men like that is present in Christianity. For example, apologetics. Men like competition, problem solving and conflict. We need to get them exposed to different points of view, and allow them to ask questions and to debate. That means lots of learning and discussion about science, history, logic and morality. Men also like using facts and evidence when they argue. You can see it in the sermons of Mark Driscoll, and the Sunday School classes of Wayne Grudem (Essentials) and William Lane Craig (Defenders). Men like to argue about moral obligations and moral standards, and they like to use evidence. Lastly, men like politics and current events.

Church needs to be made safer for men to show their knowledge, and to debate the issues of the day in the open, without worrying about being shushed for making people feel bad. That means allowing men to discuss things like what laws strengthen and weaken marriage and the role of the father in the home, what education policies strengthen and reinforce parental authority, what fiscal policies encourage personal responsibility and liberty, what foreign policy is best for creating peace and protecting the weak from evil. Practical Christianity. Men should be good at pro-life debating and pro-marriage debating, and using public facts and arguments – not by quoting the Bible. (Although they get their view from the Bible, that’s not how you talk to non-Christians – with Christianese)

WK: Here’s a good article that features one of my favorite theologians/apologists, Mrs. Nancy Pearcey:
http://www.biola.edu/news/biolamag/articles/06spring/feminization.cfm

I really recommend her book “Total Truth”.

Pastor’s Wife: How about men who love Christ and have a close relationship with Him , for out of that relationship comes all ministry etc. We need to LOVE Christ and honor Him as well as allow Him to speak into our lives and let him lead HIS BRIDE

Pastor: Look Winter, I agree to a point. However I think that Politics / knowledge can and is taught in the church. You sound like a lawyer. Why not go to a church and do as you profess. My apologies if you are already. The church is a house of prayer, not a courtroom!

WK: Pastor’s wife, you talk about Christ. Do you think that it would be loving to Christ to study history and to be able to make a defense of his resurrection to non-Christians? A defense that doesn’t assume that the Bible is inerrant? As Peter did in Acts 2, and as Peter urged us to be ready to do in 1 Peter 3:15?

If you agree that defending the resurrection when it is called into question by non-Christians, who do not accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, would be an effective way to love Jesus in a practical way, please explain to me how you would encourage others to go about doing that? Do you think that men would like to see a debate on that topic, or on the topic of God’s existence, in the church, and would God be honored by having church people know how to defend his existence, and the resurrection of his son, using public, testable evidence and sound logical arguments? Would that be a way to love God?

Pastor: Apologetics (which I like doing) has it’s place. You are sounding like a Pharisee!

WK: Again with the insults. Why should I be surprised?

Pastor: Well you are sounding like a Pharisee!

Pastor: Tell me how you are not sounding like one.

WK: Do you think that name-calling is an appropriate response to my specific concerns?

Pastor: in this case

Pastor: i call you on something and you call it name calling

Pastor: I offer a solution…Men go to church… do you?

Pastor’s Wife: Debate and displays of knowledge of historical events can be done in any local gym or community center.(or perhaps a Sunday school session with those topics of interest) Our Father’s house is a place of prayer and worship, to give ministry to our God in worship and in community with the saints.

WK: Do you think that William Lane Craig is a Pharisee because he goes and does 2 M.As and 2 Ph.Ds, studies the issues in depth and writes a lot of books on the existence of God and the resurrection, and then debates Christopher Hitchens in front of 5000 people at Biola University? Is that being a Pharisee? Defending God’s existence and the resurrection of Jesus in front of thousands of people because you first accepted the message of 1 Pet 3:15? Is it being a Pharisee to do what the Bible says (be ready to give a defense)? Is it being a Pharisee to meet non-Christians were they are and to use effective means to refute them?

Pastor: You can “idolize” apologetics. I worry sometimes about that

Pastor’s Wife: Jesus Himself through His Holy Spirit defends the resurrection. It is God who saves not man…God through His Holy Spirit

WK: Ok, again with the name calling.

(later in another thread)

Pastor: Wintery you are a wimp

Pastor: Wintery? I see your interest is Chivalry? LOL

William Lane Craig asks John Dominic Crossan: do you believe in God?

The answer is NO, Crossan does not believe in God.

And here is the proof from William Lane Craig. (H/T Glenn Peoples)

This exchange with Crossan occurred in their debate entitled “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”.

The MP3 file of that debate is here.

Now look over this post about theological liberals, from philosopher Glenn Peoples.

Excerpt:

Secondly there’s a palpable dishonesty at work here too. If you’re going to present ideas, it’s helpful to name them. But if you name them, you need to be conscious of the fact that some names are already taken, and already have meaning. Some of these names are covered by copyright (such as Coca Cola), so you wouldn’t be able to use those, but others aren’t. When you identify as a Christian theologian and say “I believe that God exists and that Jesus rose from the dead,” you’re using terminology and also theological phrases and concepts that have recognisable meaning. In a Christian context there’s an existing understanding of what those concepts are and what those terms mean. God is the being who created the Universe, and Jesus rose from the dead by coming back to life and exiting his tomb. That’s what Christians have always meant when they say those things. But how honest is it to say “I’m a Christian, God exists, and Jesus rose from the dead” when what you actually mean is “I have a healthy respect for the teachings of a man who was no saviour, I believe that there is such a thing as goodness, and Jesus’ teachings still have some relevance for today”? Surely the respectable thing to say is “Look, Christianity is false, there’s no God, but we can still gleam a thing or two from what Jesus said.”

And more:

I have no doubt that for people who – for whatever reason – have an emotional or wistful connection to chapels, ecclesiastical robes and moving liturgy but who cannot stomach the perceived balderdash about inconvenient things like God, liberal (or “progressive”) Christianity is perceived as more intellectually respectable and credible. But those on the outside are a little more discerning and quite frankly aren’t this easily duped. However wrong they might be, they are not uniformly stupid. The genuinely honest and self respecting thing would be to stop receiving the church salary or pension, stop using its land, buildings and resources, admit that you reject Christianity outright and be done with it. Do something a little less duplicitous with your life. Start your own religion if you must, but face the fact that a more respectable version of religion is not what you have created.

That’s an excellent assessment of theological liberalism.I would have liked it even more if Glenn had talked about Crossan’s other pre-supposition – of religious pluralism – which requires that nothing in Christianity be exclusive such that people in other religions would be mistaken in their view of God and face whatever consequences that entails.

By the way, if you like that kind of frankness, I really recommend getting hold of the Greer-Heard forums with John Dominic Crossan (2005), Bart Ehrman (2008) and Paul F. Knitter (2009) – three apostates who are strongly questioned by the other respondents to the debate. Especially by the philosophers, Paul Copan and Doug Geivett. That is one excellent thing about philosophers. While historians and theologians see to me to often what to cloud things over, philosophers (analytical philosophers anyway), seem to want to clear things up.

I do not yet have the 2010 MP3s yet, but will buy them this weekend. Greer-Heard does a great job on these MP3 recordings – $15 for an entire forum with respondents. You learn a ton, but it is definitely intermediate level material.

Disclaimer: I don’t agree with Glenn on some things – I believe in non-material souls and I believe in Hell, and he seems to be more for material body only and annihilationism. But he keeps writing these amazing posts, so I keep linking.

C. Michael Patton explains why women cannot teach in the church

He explains why he thinks that the Bible teaches that women cannot teach in the church.

His point:

Now, let me give my short and sweet answer as to why Paul did not allow women to teach:

Paul did not let women teach due to the often aggressive and combative nature that teaching must entail concerning the confrontation of false doctrine. Men must be the teachers when combating false teaching. However, because the role of a teacher in the church is so often to combat false doctrine, and because false doctrine is always a problem, generally speaking, the principles are always applicable. The “exercising of authority” is inherently tied to teaching and its necessary condemnation of false doctrine.

The combative nature of teaching is particularly relevant to a broader understanding of the characteristics of men and women.

I agree with Patton on this one. I think in practice most women are more interested in relationships and community than they are in truth and polemics. Christianity is a propositional faith, though. It’s not meant to be a set of arbitrary preferences that give our lives hope and meaning without any evidential foundation. And it needs to be defended using rational arguments and evidence against lies.

I would make an exception for women who want to teach on an area of knowledge not related to the Bible but related to apologetics or Christian living, like astrophysics, economics, ancient history, bio-ethics, etc. In that case I would allow a woman to teach. I would also be willing to make exceptions for women who are truth-focused and who do not mind making exclusive claims if it makes them unpopular, e.g. – Jennifer Roback Morse or Nancy Pearcey.

Apologetics advocacy

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