There are some Church leaders in Northern Michigan who have been concerned about the way men, especially Christian men, seem to be failing in their responsibilities to provide an example of godly Christian manhood. A part of this is because of the lack of confidence felt by Christian men when it comes to dealing with relationships – our present era does not encourage a Biblical view of manhood.
In a recent discussion with the retired pastor of a local United Methodist Church the topic of men’s views with respect to their wives arose. The pastor made the point that God made woman to be man’s companion and helper. One who was specifically fitted for his needs. When men lose sight of this fact, said the pastor, it becomes very easy to imagine that it is legitimate to try and make one’s wife conform to an ideal which resides in the man’s head. After all, goes the argument, I am the head of the household and she is supposed to do what I say. There the man has forgotten that the only one he can change is himself.
Too often today men imagine that, in order to be manly they have to treat women and children harshly since it is hard for them to see tenderness and compassion as manly virtues. This is because of the number of movies which portray acceptable men’s behavior either in terms of violence or in terms which seem almost indistinguishable from those of women. The problem is that when we look for examples of courage determination and integrity they are usually drawn from wartime or situations where “the end justifies the means” – even if the means involve breaking the law.
Nor is the Church any better it seems, when it comes to drawing a picture of what it means to be a man. The common view of Jesus Christ tends to play down his courage in resisting the false teaching of his age or his willingness to give expression to his displeasure – even in driving the money changers out of the temple. When, for example was the last time your pastor preached on the importance of taking the unpopular step of speaking out against false teaching in the Church and in the State. Yet, both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus himself did just that.
Christian manliness is more than a matter of dictating what shall be done in one’s houshold but of leading that household and encouraging the family to follow. One area in which this can be seen is the way men lead in family worship. It used to be common in the American tradition for the father of the home to read the Bible, ensure the children understood the meaning and to both lead in prayer and teach the children to do the same. So often, when this has not been a tradition from the beginning of one’s marriage, a lack of confidence with respect to Bible explanation and in leading in prayer prevent the husband from beginning. There is a fear of questions about the meaning of the Bible and lack of experience leading in prayer so the task is often delegated to the wife.
When talking about family worship, the Twining Baptist pastor pointed to the IBC parents’ wordpress site which contains the following: “A NOTE TO DAD’S: This is OUR JOB! Make sure you lead your home as God has called you and do not abdicate your responsibility to your wives. If you need help… ask! There are many godly men at IBC that would be happy to offer assistance, but you ultimately are responsible to God for your family that He has entrusted you with. Seek Him and He will help you.
It is a small beginning, but if men take seriously their responsibility for the eternal destination of those they love, it can lead (eventually) to the recovery of that greatness which used to characterize thye nation.
For More Info: A series of suggestions for beginning a family worship (from Twining Baptist)