By Pastor Dorrell
There are many needed and necessary things that should be done to encourage masculinity in our churches. To do nothing deliberately is to abdicate our congregations to cultural forces, which obviously have gender-neutral or feminist bias agendas. The approach I would like to ask you to consider is to simply teach and preach on the subject of what genuine masculinity looks like from your pulpits.
There is no comprehensive definition of masculinity or definitive resource I could refer you to, outside the Word of God itself. From the Bible, we do know that masculinity and femininity are biblical ideals and concepts, with specific differences, roles, and attributes assigned to each.
It is misinformed to think or believe that masculinity is culturally determined. Presently, cultures do recognize gender differences, but there is an agenda to blur these distinctions, which makes it all the more important to get our cues and information directly from the Bible.
First, let me argue that masculinity is something God expects from men. In 1 Corinthians 16:13, the Bible says: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong.” From this text and many more like it, we can deduce there is a way to act like a man. In the Bible men are described using the words courage, fight, strength, sacrifice, protect, and cherish. From the biblical concepts of masculinity, I would like to offer this definition:
Masculinity is the collection of all those characteristics, which flow from delighting in and sacrificing bodily strength for goodness and care. It is strength and sacrifice exhibited in both disposition and deed. Masculinity is the sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in a way appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.
Expounding upon that definition, I might offer that man ought to have a sense of awareness that their roles and responsibilities differ from those of a woman. He should look, act, and behave differently at many levels. He should have a sense that his strength is something he is supposed to utilize in a positive way. The women are referred to in the Bible as the weaker vessel, and that supposes the male will be stronger in appropriate ways.
This strength is to be used to provide, protect, and care for those in his family, and is to be used benevolently. By benevolent, I mean a man is to be good, kind, and loving. He can be strong and fierce when necessary, but his heart and intentions should be to use his strength in a positive and thoughtful way. It is part of masculinity to be brave, fierce, and even properly feared, but only as Scripture would allow and indicate he should be. C.S. Lewis recognized this precept of masculinity when he referred to Aslan, who was a type of Christ, as: He is not a tame lion. And in a conversation with Mr. Beaver he said: “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
True masculinity should evoke respect, confidence, and kindness. Beyond that, masculinity is to be exercised responsibly. A man recognizes he is supposed to lead his family and, at times, others. He is also to provide for those under his care and not abdicate that responsibility to other people. He is to protect his family emotionally, physically, spiritually, and morally from those who would injure or harm them. He is to recognize that the world has an agenda influenced by Satan to steal, kill, and destroy that which is good and right.
This protection is also supposed to take on the form of chivalry and goodness. The idea of chivalry, or being well mannered, is rooted in the Bible as a way to treat his wife and children.
Finally, it is important for a man to recognize his masculine role is to be played out appropriately to others in his life. Obviously, a man has a unique responsibility and role to play out before his wife, mother, and sisters. He has more of a primary role in protecting, providing, and caring for his immediate family. He recognizes it is the responsibility of other men to care for their families’ needs and does not improperly assert himself. However, if he was to see anyone in danger or in need of his unique strength in a threatening situation, he would understand that part of masculinity is to use his strength and position before God to help and protect.
My point in offering this definition is that there is so much we could teach and preach from the Bible, in a neutered and feminized culture, about the need for masculine men. I believe the day is long gone when we can simply rely on ???cultural capital??? to transmit the concepts about men and women as the Bible teaches. Pastors most likely need to take on a more active role in communicating from the Bible what it means to be a man, how to act like a man, and the responsibilities and roles of a man. A failure on our part will contribute to the trend of the culture to feminize men, which will find its way into the church. God created them male and female, and that is a distinction we need to give great effort to preserve.