Summary: Today we are going to learn about another transition that has taken place in society in the home and the church. We are going to look at the treatment of men.
For the last couple of weeks during our series on discipleship we’ve been tackling some subject matter with some biblical truths and principles that have cut against the grain of some of the current practices and beliefs of our time.
We’ve looked at today's practice of dating and learned how it can open the floodgate to fleshly habits that do not please God. We were taught how dating makes it difficult for people to abstain from fornication. Because of the tendency to breakup after the hookup, relationships are destroyed. Dating then becomes a breeding ground for mistrust that weakens the marriage bond and gives way to divorce.
We then looked at courtship which was once embraced by a large segment of society. Most of our young people and their parents have never heard of it. If they are familiar with the term, they consider it a relic of past generations; definitely not for the 21st century.
We have gotten to the point in our day where “wrong is considered right and what was once considered right is now deemed as wrong.” In Isaiah 5:20 we find a warning to this generation: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
In the book of Romans we find a sobering remark concerning the times in which we live: “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”
Today we are going to learn about another transition that has taken place in society in the home and the church. We are going to look at the treatment of men.
In 2 Timothy chapter two, the Apostle Paul encourages Timothy towards the ministry of discipling men in the church:
2 Tim 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
In Titus chapter two Paul commands the older men to teach the younger men and in 2 Timothy he tells Timothy to pass along the legacy of the Scripture to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
However, it is difficult to fulfill the commands from both the letters to Titus and Timothy when there are scarcely any older men in the church to teach the younger men and there aren’t many younger men in the church to be taught.
According to the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, a 2001 study of 300,000 worshipers in more than 2,000 congregations, 61 percent of worshipers are women.
Data from a National Opinion Research Center poll find that the
percentage of men who say they attend church every week fell
from 43.2 percent in 1972 to 35.1 percent in 2002.
One year a survey was taken that reported 40% of men nationwide
compared with 50% of women say they have attended a church
service in the past seven days that wasn’t a wedding or a funeral.
I would like to first answer the question, “Why are all the men
leaving?” and then conclude by attempting to provide an answer to
the question, “How can we bring them back?”
Why are all the men leaving?
1. The natural “pull away.” Experts say that many men pull away from church attendance in a pattern that is typical for both men and women—they grow up in the church and leave in their late teens when they are on their own. If they return, it's because they want their children to have a moral upbringing. But many end up leaving the regular church attendance to the women.
2. The feminization of the church. Men sometimes feel Christianity is about being weak, meek and mild. Many men believe that Christianity has evolved into a female-centered world.
This view coincides with author Leon J. Podles, who asserts in his book, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, that during the first thousand years of the church, men were drawn to the church because they could express their masculinity in the service of Christ. However, by the 11th century, a change began to take place within the Catholic Church, whereby this was no longer the case.
What Podles calls, “a spiritual eroticism” began to commandeer the place of manly obedience to Christ. The concepts of holiness and faithfulness became more and more associated with "romantic affection." Because of this shift, the church became less and less attractive to men.
In conjunction with this shift in understanding faith, Christ was beginning to be portrayed in an increasingly feminine fashion. The Jesus of the Bible, known for his clear judgment and dogmatic teaching, was now being depicted in churches as soft, compassionate and accepting of all, without any manly conviction. This new nurturing image of Christ overshadowed His more masculine traits of strength and courage. His iron-clad will to fight evil and His rigorous self-discipline to the point of dying on a cross for the love of others were no longer extolled from the pulpit.