This is a continuation of the topic introduced last Friday. The following notes are from a message I gave at a men's conference last year. Before we get into it, here's a definition, taken from the Oxford English Dictionary:
That's not a slur against women or femininity. The point is that certain qualities which are admirable traits for mothers and wives are dishonorable mannerisms for men to exhibit (or hide behind) when duty calls them to proclaim truth boldly or defend the faith against error. While there are certainly times in ministry when it is appropriate for ministers to be gentle (1 Thessalonians 2:7; 2 Timothy 2:24-25); that's not true all the time (1 Thessalonians 2:11-13). And daintiness is a particularly inappropriate attribute when it defines someone's pulpit style. A preacher is supposed to deliver the message "as one who speaks oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11). The pulpit is not for wimps.
oday's evangelicals seem committed to keeping the church a soft, delicate, sissified environment. All the sharp corners are carefully filed down and rounded off every truth. Even the tone of the preacher has to be suited to the sewing circleand qualities like sponginess and hesitancy have become a thousand times more common than accuracy and plain speaking. Evangelicals constantly say they want their leaders to be "vulnerable."
Think about this: we're nearing the end of evangelicalism's twenty-five-year-long love affair with the seeker-sensitive movement. Have you ever thought carefully about what's implied in just that term (seeker-sensitive)? It sounds like something a weak and frightened person thought up. Where does "seeker-sensitivity" fit into the biblical description of what the church should be?
Answer: it doesn't. It's a typically effeminate trend.
Now we've got something even worsethe post-evangelical myth that "conversation" is morally superior and pragmatically more effective than preaching. Churches are rearranging the furniture in a circle; trading pews for couches; exchanging preachers for "discussion facilitators"; giving then a bar stool in the center of the room instead of a pulpit at the front; and hosting a perpetual, aimless dialogue about everyone's personal opinion.
Post-evangelicals don't want teachers who will declare the difference between truth and error with manly conviction. They just want to have fun.
The whole drift of the evangelical movement reflects a steady movement away from the one, singular New Testament command that ought have first place on every pastor's agenda: "Preach the word . . . in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.") And it reflects a movement in the opposite direction, toward an ego-massaging message that conditions people "not [to] endure sound doctrine, but [to] heap up for themselves teachers [who cater to their itching ears]; and . . . turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
And they tend to get angry when anyone points those things out.
It's worth pointing out the problem anyway. Coddle an effeminate disposition and it will get worse. And this could very well be the worst possible time in all of history for the church to go soft. It's not a problem we can afford to ignore politely.
"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).