A great discussion has erupted over on Is This Modest. It started out talking about romancing one’s husband, but mutated into a discussion about men and the church. The question that is running around the comments section is “Has the church become so feminized that men don’t care to attend?
The discussion started with the idea of “Romancing Christ.” We’re the bride of Christ. We’ll feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. God says that we’ll have a relationship with God that’s much like a husband and wife. It’s all very Biblical.
The problem is that the relationship is much different than today’s marriage relationship. In one case, the relationship is a lot like Hosea and Gomer—as the bride has been unfaithful, and yet he still takes them back. Jesus is said to wash his bride of her sin.
But this is all dwarfed by the fact that the emphasis in the Scripture is on Christ. Christ made the choice and is the focus.
Christ made the choice. He chose before the foundation of the world. He came to die. He did all the work.
Christ is the focus. In Psalms, there’s a reference to Christ as the husband, and the church as the bride, but right after the bride arrives, the focus goes back to the husband. Much different than the focus of today’s weddings which is on the bride.
In fact, if you go back to the marriages of Jesus time you see something much different that today’s marriage. In that marriage, the man came and chose the bride. He built the house and he came to collect her. She was to be ready with her finest stuff and her dowry, but the focus was on the bridegroom’s coming. You don’t find the focus on the bride that we have today. And even the duties of the bride in the marriage were different—a submissive role seeking to magnify her husband, rather than today’s feminized view of equal partners.
Lastly, there is never a command for us to romance Christ. We’re supposed to have a relationship with Him, but never a romantic relationship. Our relationship is supposed to be close and intimate, but not romantic love. We’re supposed to have agape love, not erotic love.
Men and Church
I don’t buy that men are leaving churches because of the feminizing of churches. I believe that feminizing churches is only one of the symptoms of a bigger problem. I believe that the feminization of churches is on par with the country-club mentality prevalent in some churches.
To me, the biggest problem is two fold.
1. We’re too focused on church, and not focused enough on Christ.
I think that asking “Why aren’t Men in Church?” is the wrong question. We should be asking, why aren’t men pursuing God? Church is a place where we gather to worship God. It’s supposed to be about Him. We’re supposed to be reaching our community for Him, He’s supposed to come first.
This isn’t to say that people won’t come to the Savior through in the church, but the church was a fellowship of believers—believers that heard the Word from others.
2. We don’t see God through our churches, we see a social club.
I believe that our churches have lost their appeal because they’ve lost their power. They’re no more about Christ, but they continue to keep the forms and the programs, and do everything in their own strength. When people see God work, they come to Him. When people see man work, they’re unimpressed.
If we want to see people come to church, we need to see people come to Christ, and the best way to do that is to get into the center of God’s will and show Him at work.