Proximity, Sprawl, and Being Joyfully Inconvenienced by Your Church

In my posts on proximity and sprawl (here and here), I argued that living close to your church is important. In fact, I believe that, ordinarily, one of the most impactful ways to love your fellow church members, to “consider others higher than yourselves,” and to “look to the interests of others,” is by seeking to live geographically close to your church.

Of course, one of the dangers of being so close to your church is that convenience could breed complacency. For those who live close to their church and misuse that proximity, and for those who currently live a distance from the church, here’s an encouraging blog on why being inconvenienced for your church is actually an opportunity for your faithfulness and joy to shine.

…Those who are hungry for Christ consider it their joy to be inconvenienced for the sake of His church.

Unfortunately, this is in stark contrast to the way many people treat the church today. Countless multitudes attend church regularly, but view it as a commodity—a conveniently located provider of spiritual goods and services for which they make no real sacrifice…

Read the rest of the article here.

On Ball Becoming Baal

In two previous posts, we discussed how parents are often teaching our children to have the wrong priorities. In fact, this is sometimes because many adult believers have confused priorities as well. One of the common culprits is the role of sports in the life of the family. I recently read this article from For the Church, and thought it was worth sharing as a follow-up to that discussion.

Like “athlete’s foot” on the hygienically-challenged teenager, sports has taken over more and more of the life of believers. Almost overnight we have awakened to the sad fact that, in many communities, sports has even usurped the hours believers meet on the Lord’s Day. All too often members are saying to church leaders, “We’ll be gone next Sunday because of the soccer tournament.” In turn, leaders are supposed to acquiesce humbly. After all, we can’t afford to appear “legalistic;” everyone knows that the greatest crime a church can commit is to demand something of someone.

The author concludes with three principles that are well-worth implementing in your own family life. Read the rest of the article here.

MGTOW Propaganda in Reformation Germany

I continue to be astounded by just how pervasive the truth is that there is nothing new under the sun. I discovered recently that the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement is also nothing new. I’m reading “When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe,” by Steven Ozment; and in the first chapter he writes:

Three years before his own marriage, Martin Luther wrote a treatise, Vom elelichen Laban (On the estate of marriage, 1522), his first lengthy discussion of the subject, in which he complained that “marriage has universally fallen into awful disrepute,” that peddlers everywhere are selling “pagan books which treat of nothing but the depravity of womankind and the unhappiness of the estate of marriage”—a reference to classical misogynist and antimarriage sentiments and to the bawdy antifeminist stories that were popular among Luther’s contemporaries.

A proverb by Jerome was also popularly used in Luther’s day: “If you find things going too well—take a wife.”

This disdain for marriage is nothing new. The divine institution has been under attack since the beginning. Our current culture’s confusion and contempt surrounding the matters of marriage are why the teaching and work of folks like Allan Carlson, C.R. Wiley, Doug Wilson, Foster and Tennant, and others is so important.

“When Fathers Ruled” is not only an interesting book regarding the historic protestant view of marriage; it’s an essential work for understanding the Reformation in its context, as seeking to restore the biblical view of marriage, family life, and the discipleship of the household. I encourage you to get a copy here and check it out for yourself. I think you’ll find it beneficial in various ways.

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In Praise of Manly Pastors

I recently had a post about some men—mainly pastors—I would recommend other men follow. That prompted the question: Why is masculinity important in a pastor?

Well, there’s a larger theological discussion to be had here. Masculinity is important because excellence is important, and virtue (moral excellence) in a man—of which elders are to be exemplary—is necessarily masculine. Masculinity is important in a pastor because pastoral ministry is, by nature, agonistic, combative, confrontational. It takes courage, grit, fortitude, perseverance.

(Note the header image e.g.—John Calvin barring the Libertines from the Lord’s Table.)

But the simple reason I wanted to point out a few men to be aware of is because, on the practical level, men want to find pastors whom they can follow into battle. It’s that simple. If you’re a wife reading this, you need to understand that while the children’s ministry may be the most important aspect to you for finding a good church, for your husband it will be having a pastor they would follow into battle. They may not consciously word it that way. Perhaps it’s not even the best way to word it. But wives, you should want to go to a church where your husband respects the pastor. The programs, fellowship, coffee, and “atmosphere” may be terrific; but if your husband does not respect your pastor as a man, he won’t last long.

I hope to explain that a little further soon.

The video below is a good example of the need for manly men in the pulpits of America. I don’t link to this video because I endorse Maxwell. I don’t. I disagree with much of his approach and his theological views (including, ironically, his take on masculinity). But he’s hitting a niche precisely because he is accurately pointing out the failing of modern evangelicalism when it comes to masculinity, engaging the world manfully, and, thus, retaining real men in the churches.

This is why we need men like Wilson, Baucham, Cunningham, Conn, Wiley, and others.

In this video, Voddie Baucham explains that one of the primary reasons men aren’t interested in church is because the pastor is not a man they respect and feel they can follow as their leader.

In this article, C.R. Wiley discusses how to get and keep masculine men in the church.

And when we talk about masculine pastors (or men in general), we don’t—or shouldn’t—mean the machismo and posturing that so often is presented as manhood. Alastair Roberts has some helpful thoughts on that in two articles here and here. I’ll leave you with a quote from Wilson’s Future Men. This is essential in our endeavor to not continue losing future men from the church.

Boys should be able to see masculine leadership throughout the life of the church. From the pulpit, to the session of elders, to the choir, boys should be able to see men they respect. They should not see what is too often the case—missing men or silent men just along for the ride. When men go to church simply to sit in the back, they are teaching their boys to do exactly the same thing, if that.

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A Parenting Q&A You Should Know About

Here is an excellent Q&A (quite a few years old) with Tim Bayly and Doug and Nancy Wilson. You really should listen to it. It’s delightful, convicting, and full of wisdom.

http://baylyblog.com/blog/2009/03/qa-session-raising-godly-children-douglas-nancy-wilson-and-tim-bayly

A Father’s Responsibilities

I ’ve recently been reading Marriage and Family in the Biblical World—a fascinating work explaining the structure, role, and centrality of the ancient household. The book examines the views and practices of marriage, family, and household in ancient Israel, Greece, Rome, and the early church. Below is an interesting list of the father’s responsibilities in the ancient Hebrew and early Christian household, adapted from lists in the book itself. A truly captivating study, I look forward to finishing the book, and commend it to you as well.

A Father’s Responsibilities

·     Personally modeling strict fidelity to Yahweh

·     Leading his family in national festivals, and nurturing the memory of Israel’s salvation

·     Instructing the family in the traditions and Scriptures

·     Managing the land

·     Providing for the family’s basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and rest (1 Tim. 5:8)

·     Defending the household against outside threats

·     Protecting his wife and daughters from unwise vows (Num. 30)

·     Serving as an elder and representing the household in the official assembly of citizens

·     Maintaining the household’s well-being and the harmonious operation of the family unit

·     Implementing decisions made at the clan or tribal level

·     Leading and discipling his wife (Eph. 5:26)

·     Discipling and disciplining his children (Eph. 6:4)

·     Leading his family in prayer (1 Pet. 3:7)

A Father’s Responsibilities for His Daughters

·    A father has the responsibility to protect his daughter from male predators so that she would marry as a virgin and thus bring honor to the Lord and purity to her husband (Deut. 22; Ex. 22:16–17)

·     Arranging for his daughter’s marriage by finding a suitable husband and making proper arrangements (Deut. 7:3–5; Ezra 9:12; Neh.13:25; Jer. 29:6; Luke 20:24–25)

·     Ensuring a measure of security for his daughter by providing a dowry

·     Protecting his daughter from rash vows (Num. 30)

·     Providing security for his daughter in case the marriage fails

·     Instructing his daughters in the Scriptures

A Father’s Responsibilities for His Sons

·     Modeling biblical manhood in the home (Prov. 23:26)

·     Preparing his sons for marriage and headship in their future households

·     Walking alongside their sons and teach them a trade and to care for the land

·     Telling their sons the story of salvation with a view toward generational remembrance (Deut. 6:20–21)

·     Correcting their sons and restrain their iniquity (Deut. 21:18–21; 1 Samuel 3:13)

·     Teaching their sons wisdom from God’s Word (Prov. 2:1–5; 3:1–2)

·     Making arrangements to help their sons to secure wives (Gen. 24)

·     Leaving their sons an inheritance (Deut. 21:15–17)

I highly recommend this work for any who are interested in studying the theology of the household, or in understanding the cultural context of the biblical world more generally. One of the most fascinating books I’ve read recently—get it here.


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