Manhood (Part 4) – Man, Manhood & God
I spent a few days last week setting the background for the need to have this discussion. Today I begin to turn toward some specific issues, statements, ideas and questions. As a church, The Grove has sought to reclaim a biblical perspective on manhood and what that means in the church, the family, and culture. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we are more than willing to wrestle with the questions, which is a major part of the battle – just being willing to engage in it.
Much of what I share here is attributable to Stu Weber (one of the founding pastors of Good Shepherd Community Church in Oregon) and his incredibly insightful book, The Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart. I will provide some selected passages from the book along with some additions of my own. Stu is a man’s man, but writes with an amazing gift to incorporate story as a means of communicating truth. If you haven’t read the book, I strongly encourage you to get your own copy. I will insert questions for you to wrestle with as you read through the material. This is not a short post, but don’t be in a hurry. Take your time as you read. Let it get under your skin. Let it anger you or challenge you. And join the conversation in the comment section.
MAN, MANHOOD, & GOD
Satan loves dark tunnels. And he knows that this one, this gender ?destroying detour from God’s intentions, has the potential to do more damage than we can begin to dream. Our ancient adversary knows very well what most us have forgotten: Gender is one of the most basic and far-reaching expressions of the image of God. And the enemy loves noth?ing better than to distort the image of the God he hates.
Picture in your mind the image of a hate-deranged child slash?ing a picture of his father to ribbons, then burning those fragments, one by one. But Satan is no child. The Book of Revelation calls him “the great dragon.. .that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” When he acts, it is according to an established pat?tern, old as Eden, old as the earth itself
Distort the Word of God. Mar the image of God. And never stop attack?ing man, the creation of God formed in His very image.
God created mankind “in His image…male and female He created them.” The image and glory of God on this planet is tied to our human masculinity and femininity. Anything Satan can do to bend, blur, or deface that image is a big-time coup for him. So he is at it with a vengeance today, in your lifetime and mine.
The fundamental pillar of our society, the family, has been under assault for years, and its crumbling has long been of vital con?cern to Christians. But do not miss the progression. The artillery salvos are escalating against something even more fundamental’ the very notion of what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman.
“NOW HEAR THIS!”
The gender issue is NOT primarily a political issue-though it certainly has tremendous political impact. It is NOT a social issue-though it affects society at its very foundation. Neither is it primarily an economic issue. Though it has great economic ramifications. It isn’t even a primarily sexual issue-though sexuality is a central element.
The gender issues facing us today are primarily spiritual and theologi?cal at their core. Everything we do as humans is influenced strongly by our gender realities. Gender is a very basic element in dealing with our identity. In his or her soul, every human being asks a few basic questions: Who am I? Am I loved? Am I good or bad? Am I a boy or, a girl-a man or a woman?
Gender is often the first question we ask at a human birth: “Is it a boy or a girl?” Incidentally, have you ever noticed that no one ever asks, “Is it a male or a female?” We are not looking so much for the child’s sex as we are the child’s identity;
Gender is primarily an issue of theology. And theology is the most foundational of all the sciences.
- Gender is at the heart of creation.
- Gender is tied to the image of God
- Gender is central to the glory of God
Questions to ponder? Do you agree with the idea of gender as a spiritual/theological issue more than a political/social/economic issue? In what ways is gender a spiritual/theological issue? How does the idea of gender as a theological issue change your basic perceptions regarding gender questions?
And that is precisely why the armies of hell are throwing themselves into this particular battle with such concentrated frenzy.
Dr. Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate and now with the Lord, beautifully captured the reality of gender centrality.
Where can the enemy attack God most strategically? How most effectively destroy His relationship with mankind?
His masterpiece is to deface the image of God
Image is indispensable in our Madison Avenue/Hollywood culture. It’s the stock in trade of the public relations firm. Selling it is big business-billions of dollars worth. Bad image in our day is very costly. Which is precisely the point at which Satan makes his most strategic attack
God created man, male and female as His image in history.
Anything the devil can do to destroy the male-female union will mar God’s image…anything that will alienate man from woman contributes to the destruction of a high view of God. The enemy has a multitude of tactics: premarital sex, extramarital sex, sexual deviation, divorce, male chauvinism, feminism as an end in itself, and on and on….Satan’s effectiveness in destroying God’s image through male-female alienation, by whatever means, has been incalculably costly to the human race.
Questions to ponder? What has your own experience been with male-female alienation? What situations exasperate your own view of male/female relationships? Do you see any earmarks of Satan in these experiences? What lasting impact have these situations had on you?
We’ll continue on this topic tomorrow. This series of posts will benefit greatly from the addition of your thoughts, experiences, questions and observations in the comment section.