A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Godly Men. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Godly Men. Show all posts

April 18, 2024

The "Stronger Men Conference" and the Blasphemy towards God

I had intended to write on another subject for today's post, but I will defer that subject to another day. An ugly controversy has arisen in the Body of Christ, and I cannot remain silent on it. I don't want to belabor the points why it is important for me to speak out, so here is my take on the latest public disagreement among Christians.

By now, I'm sure you're aware that the internet has blown up over the opening act of the 2024 "Stronger Men's Conference" hosted by James River Church and Lead Pastor John Lindell. The controversy arises from the comments delivered by Pastor Mark Driscoll, himself a controversial figure in the Christian community, and the subsequent reproach delivered by Pastor Lindell. 

This post does not seek to condemn either Pastor Lindell nor Pastor Driscoll for what either said. I will not judge them in their roles as Pastors, whether in the present or the past. That, I leave to God. That is not what I seek to address. Rather, as a Believer who honors the Holiness of our God, I want to comment on what I see as the dishonor and perverted irreverence towards God during the performance that opened the Conference. 

First, let me say that in Biblical terms, dishonor means "to treat shamefully" or "insult". Perversion refers to any form of human behavior which deviates from what is considered to be normal; usually sexual behaviors that are considered particularly abnormal, repulsive or obsessive. Irreverence points to a lack of respect; and in regards to the human condition, is a product of ignorance which leads to disobedience.  

So, let's jump right into the controversy. The very first thing that starts off this "Stronger Men Conference" is a male stripper performing an erotic act on a stripper pole, which includes licking and swallowing a sword. Now, since the stated purpose of this annual event [hosted by James River Church] is "to inspire and equip men to live out God's vision for manhood to be the husbands, fathers, and leaders God has called them to be", I must say I fail to see any connection to the supposed objective of the Conference, nor any Godly reason for this act of perversion. 

How does inviting the spirit of Perversion to a men's conference "inspire and equip men to live out God's vision for manhood"??? Who thought this was a good idea and a way to honor God? And don't tell me that the leaders of this conference had no idea who this "star of the show" was! Now, you can go online and find all kinds of testimonies saying this man has repented of his errant days as a gay male stripper and he has come to the Lord. Maybe that's true and I pray that Jesus has changed his heart. Yet, here he is, stripping on a pole in front of other men! That is called seduction! And Romans 1:24 says, Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin]...

As disturbing as this part of the controversy is, that's not what has everyone in an uproar on social media. There were people who got up and walked out on that opening presentation, but it was what happened the next morning that has stirred up a heated debate among Christians. Pastor Mark Driscoll gets up to speak, telling the crowd that he's been up since early in the morning praying because his heart was burdened for those in attendance. 

He stated that his remarks were in no way a rebuke or a correction, but rather an observation ... "Before the Word of God was opened, there was a platform -- it was a high place. On the platform was an Asherah pole; the same thing used in a strip club for women who have the Jezebel spirit to seduce men. In front of that was a man who ripped his shirt off [like a woman does] in front of a pole at a strip club". Further pictures of the demonstration show the man ascending the pole and then descending into a pose like a man crucified upside down. I can see why Pastor Driscoll's heart was burdened. But as he prepares to continue speaking, Pastor John Lindell yells from the crowd "This is out of line" a couple of times. And Pastor Driscoll concedes and says, "OK, Pastor, I will receive that". Lindell then yells, "You're done", and Driscoll leaves the stage.

As if the performance, the subsequence observation by Driscoll, and the termination of his remarks by Lindell are not enough, the aftermath of this embarrassing event now has "the Church" arguing whether Driscoll followed the proper protocol for order in the Church. Citing Matthew 18, Lindell said Driscoll should have come to him privately if he disagreed about anything being done at the Conference. That is the argument for putting the focus on Mark Driscoll's sin, but the issue of the sin against God's honor is not addressed!

In addition, Matthew 18 is all about sins of personal offense, and Mark Driscoll clearly stated that he was not rebuking or  correcting anyone, but rather calling out the release of a spirit of Jezebel. I would add to that the spirits of seduction and perversion! To be honest, I am also discouraged by all the comments that claim the performer is now a born-again Christian, who is attending a church. My reply to that is the fact that he is still displaying his old sins [and at a Christian conference] is no evidence of any fruit of his conversion.

And to those who claim that Pastor Lindell is a righteous and pure man of God, and the appearance of the strip act was "an oversight" by the planning committee, I am left wondering why the good Pastor, himself, didn't stand up and stop the act the minute it began. Why did it take until the next day before anyone spoke up, and then when they did, why did Lindell resort to chastisement and shut the criticism down? 

By now, you are well aware of what I think about this controversy. It is just further confirmation [for me] that much of the Church has lost its reverence for the holiness of our faith, and it deeply saddens me. The fact that thousands of men at this conference -- some with their wives and young sons in attendance -- were subjected to this aberration of manhood, shows us just how far the Church has fallen into a distorted practice of their faith. 

Ephesians 5:3 says, But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith. My question to the leaders of this conference is this: How can you justify your opening act in light of this Scripture? How does that performance inspire or equip Godly men?

And as for Pastor Lindell's use of Matthew 18 to justify his handling of Mark Driscoll, I'd like him to respond to a verse that a good friend of mine pointed out to me: As for those [elders] who continue in sin, reprimand them in the presence of all [the congregation], so that the rest will be warned (1 Timothy 5:20). Again, I am not willing to condemn Pastor Lindell as overtly sinning in this situation, because I do not have all the information of his involvement in the planning of this event. But I can call the performance out as sin against our Holy God. 

As a part of the lineup of speakers, did Mark Driscoll handle this situation in the proper manner? Perhaps not. Did John Lindell feel "called out" and his leadership questioned? I'm sure he did. But was anyone involved in this conference thinking about how God felt? Do you think He was offended? Does anyone think He approves of this perversion as a good way to build "stronger men"? And if you don't want to go as far as to call the opening performance perversion, then perhaps you should go back and read Ephesians 5:3 again. As the song says, "I saw Satan laughing with delight."

It is time that real men of God stand up and reclaim their identity as righteous men. The spirit of perversion has invaded our land and the Church has not risen up to fight this spiritual battle! We are seeing too much carnality infiltrating, not only society, but our churches and our church leaders. God will not be mocked, nor will He allow Himself to be disgraced or disrespected! There is a limit to His patience for us to clean up the Church. Before long, God is going to gather His wheat into His barn, and then He will burn the chaff. Remember, He is a consuming fire! Pray for the Church to repent for agreement with perversion like this conference portrayed!

1 Peter 4:17      For it is the time [destined] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not respect or believe or obey the Gospel of God?   

March 21, 2023

All Hail The Righteous Men!


I'd like to think that I am not the only woman in America that longs for the days when men were celebrated for their strong, masculine traits -- when terms like "toxic masculinity" were not in our lexicon, and adjectives like violent, misogynist, and homophobic were not automatically associated with successful, confident men. I'd like to return to a time when traditional male traits were not equated with causing harm to society or limiting feminine goals or being accused of intimidation by force. 

Maybe it's because I remember what it was like to look upon men as heroes and warriors; men who stood for moral courage and boldness; who were fearless in defending the defenseless and willing to show strength in the face of evil. But these kinds of men were also gentlemen, with a combination of qualities like honor, courtesy, and justice; men who were also able to exhibit love and tenderness while protecting those they held dear. Thank God these kinds of men still exist among us, but I decry the "woke" generation's attempt to eliminate them from our social fabric. And it is because I have lived through decades watching this degeneration of the male image that I want to praise "real men" who are not afraid to be what they were created to be.

And I'm deliberately using the phrase "created to be", because I believe God had a specific plan when He "created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them". You see, I still believe in what Holy Spirit empowered John the Baptist's father Zacharias to prophesy over his unborn son, and I think it shows what God intends His creation of man to be. It certainly shows the characteristics of His Son, Jesus, who [as the Bible reveals in His totality] is the model of a perfect man; descriptors like Mighty, Valiant, Merciful, Holy (Set apart), Righteous, Knowledgeable, Forgiving, a man of Peace, and a Warrior. 

As I scrolled through the Web, trying to figure out how and when our culture began to redefine what made a man, the overwhelming majority of topics spoke of the inequality of the sexes; how our gender stereotypes need to be altered; and the negative impact of stereotypical expectations of masculinity on boys and men. That's where the culture is going on this topic. 

And in my opinion, perhaps the desire to question the definition of masculinity began after the Vietnam War, when for the first time in our country's history, there was definite opposition to the image of the American male as the moral protector of innocent people and a righteous warrior against evil. But, if we are honest with ourselves, that open opposition and debate marked the beginning of our cultural decline and open rebellion against God. I can just imagine the delight Satan took in watching us turn our back on what had been the traditional role of men for centuries.

In a 2015 blog post, I described this cultural shift: "If, like me, you are "of a certain age", then you are most likely becoming discouraged about our culture's disparagement of manhood. Our little boys are dissuaded against playing with toy guns; of displaying any form of aggression or boldness; and of emphasizing their decidedly genetic tendencies to protect "the fairer sex". For pity's sake, they can't even point a fake finger gun at anyone without their school record classifying them as a "danger" for their entire academic career! 

We now live in an age where men are no longer allowed to be "men". They must now subject themselves to a lower status for all the years that they supposedly "kept women down."  The culture not only wants to blur the line between the sexes, but appears to promote the erasure of any line at all ... we are all free to "be" whatever we feel like on any particular day; and heaven forbid you are decidedly one sex or the other.  But you most definitely do not want to flaunt any characteristically male behavior.  No sir, that's strictly taboo these days, because, don't you know ... it always leads to unnecessary violence"!

And what it did was restrict the role of soldier, fighter, and protector to the confines of a computer screen. Little boys who had previously played "soldier" or "cops and robbers" to express their natural role of defender or guardian of morality were no longer allowed to act out those natural traits, but had to repress them and constrict them to a computer app. And, here we are, eight years later, and schools are forcing children to eliminate gender pronouns from their vocabulary; teachers with an agenda encourage children to consider gender reassignment therapy; and men dressed in suggestive female costumes entice and seduce children to take part in their fantasies during story time. 

So, it's time to remind the world of what I wrote about one courageous mom named Simcha Fisher; a mom with common sense and (whether she knows it or not), the wisdom to know that God made boys in His image.  In an article titled, Boys With Sticks, Fisher lays out her argument for letting "boys be boys".  She writes:  Are we so afraid of the power of violence to overtake us that we are uncomfortable with its harmless expression in children’s play?

Yes, we are, and it’s making a mess of the world. It doesn’t make violence go away when we always tell boys, ‘Put that stick down.’ Instead, it’s making a world where people -- boys and girls alike -- have no idea what to do about unjust violence. [And we have certainly seen how ugly that can get in these last few years].

Boys playing with sticks is not a meaningless game. It’s something that little boys absolutely must be allowed to do, if that’s how they want to play. A boy who wants to pick up a stick needs to know that he can, and he may, and that his affinity for sticks is not a bad thing. He needs to know that a stick is a powerful thing, and that the world needs men who know how to use their sticks. 

Ultimately, what we have done is effectively emasculated our boys and men into becoming ineffective warriors.  For, warriors is what they are called to be.  It may sound old-fashioned, but I can remember when men could take pride in being their wife’s protector; in being a father who provided for his family; or a brother who watched over his siblings -- when policemen were celebrated for their service to the public's welfare; and a soldier for defending his country. As trite and simplistic as it may sound, I am left wondering if the astounding popularity of shows like Outlander are not a result of both men and women longing for a return of warrior/heroes who aren't afraid to stand for right and wrong; who are willing to die to protect their wife and family; and who will remain immovable in the face of injustice and evil. 

Actually, that's a pretty smart play by the devil.  If he can convince us that without warriors, there will be no violence in the world, then he has leveled the playing field in our spiritual warfare.  Of course, you recognize that I am looking at this issue through my Biblical worldview.  But I don't believe my view is really that far off from Simcha Fisher, who says this about the warrior mindset:  Boys who are never allowed to be wild are boys who never learn how to control that wildness. Boys who are not allowed to whack, and be whacked, with sticks never learn what fighting is like. What’s so bad about that? Well, they may end up hitting someone weak, with no idea how much it hurts to be hit. Or they may end up standing by while the strong go after the weak – and have no idea that it’s their job to put a stop to it. 

While Simcha's statement may not perfectly align with my Biblical discernment of God's plan for His male creation, I certainly think her description of what it means to be a boy can yield the opportunities to learn both compassion and what it means to stand steadfast for righteousness and justice.  This is perfectly stated in Micah 6:8, which tells us, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"  Of course, that last part is vitally important in accomplishing the first two admonitions.  And there is the unspoken truth that with these responsibilities as protector, provider, and warrior, God has set the boundaries for men ... it is all to be done to glorify Him. So little boys must be given rules to play by, and to know where their sense of power comes from. When we abandoned that important principle of male identity, we set chaos in motion in our society.

I must say that I am glad that I am of a generation that still honors the traditional roles of men and women.  I love knowing that my husband takes his role as my protector and provider seriously and with pride. His name actually means "Peace-loving Warrior" and he embodies those important traits of Biblical manhood.  I am thrilled to see my nephews following their calling as police officers. And I am encouraged by seeing my Godson [pictured above] live out the warrior spirit that is inherent in his young personality. This world is spiraling into increasing chaos and unmanageable violence. Satan has his warriors on the battlefield... we better be training up ours for the fight of our lives!

#whatitmeanstobeaman #Godlymen #Biblicalmasculinity #menaswarriors #longingforheroes #it'soktobeaman

1 Corinthians 16:13-14    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.