The blog where I rant about things that should be obvious to everyone

As a man with a 4 year degree in computer science, and a mediocre job doing web development I'm not really qualified to comment on politics, religion, or anything else, but I'll be damned if that stops me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How the church has been feminized


A while ago I read that the difference between how men and women view morality is this (btw, if you wrote this let me know in the comments and I'll give you your backlink, I just don't remember which blog I read it from): men tend to have a moral system based on a set of rules, and women tend to have a moral system based on relationships and kindness.

A good Christian should keep both of these in mind. They should have a relationship with Jesus, and they should live by a set of rules which I will broadly call theology. The masculine sin would be to live according to theological rules without having any real relationship with God. Although I was not born at the time, from what I know of history, I believe that this was the Church's biggest problem in the 50s and before. That would explain things like the question in Times magazine: Is God dead?

Then through the sixties into our modern times we had a shift. Instead of focusing on theology in the church, we started to focus on relationship. Which is not a bad thing. The two greatest commands according to Jesus are to love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). Not only that but Jesus also says of the two greatest commands that all the law and the prophets hang on these (Matthew 22:40). So, if you are living your life by following all the rules in the Bible: not having sex outside of marriage, not getting divorced, praying, fasting, the whole works, and you don't love the Lord your God, or love your neighbor as yourself; then you have nothing. Your religion is in vain.

The end result of the shift is that, at least in my experience, you have two kinds of churches today. One is basically just community centers that you go to every Sunday, and tend to not really have either relationship or theology. The second is the evangelical type of churches, where you do have relationship, but the theology is something less than rigorous. So instead of having leaders who intensely study the Bible, and draw the most honest conclusions that they can, even if those conclusions make them uncomfortable, you have movements where there is tons of intellectual laziness, and people are guide mostly by what they feel is right and staying true to themselves. And because they do this, they wind up not following the only two commands that they focused on, and in many cases, not living lives substantially different from many new age movements about positive energy or whatever.

Of course neither extreme is good and what you need is both. You DO need to love God and your neighbor. But when it comes to loving God, Jesus tells us: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me”. So the way that we love God is by obeying His commands. And to obey his commands, YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE! And to know what they are requires theology.

4 comments:

  1. Then there are confessional Protestant churches, like traditionalist Lutheran and Reformed / Presbyterian churches: which hold to confessional statements of faith, laid down centuries ago; which emphasize theology greatly (perhaps to the point of downplaying application of Scripture sometimes), but which also emphasize the relationship that people need to have with God, esp. in terms of the Covenant. IMO, they get the balance right. (I suppose some may say I am biased, being Reformed, but I dare anyone to compare preaching in traditionalist, confessional Reformed, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches, to that in most evangelical churches today, and see if they don't observe a huge difference between them I did, which is why I left evangelicalism and became Reformed.)

    I'd also categorize the fundamentalists as being close to the confessional Protestants in some ways, except they don't emphasis theology quite as rigourously, only emphasizing what they call the 'five fundamentals' of the faith, to the exclusion of other points of theology, which I find unfortunate. Nevertheless, they, too, emphasize relationship, and like the confessional Protestants, have managed to resist most of the trends present in evangelicalism.

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  2. You might like this essay by Aaron Wolf:

    http://patriactionary.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/little-pink-churches-for-you-and-me-by-aaron-d-wolf/

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  3. Well it's definitely something that I'll have to check out. But I do know that some of the Lutheran churches in my area are pretty terrible, focusing more on things like saving the environment than on actual Christianity. So that is why my impression of them is basically as godless community centers that pay lip service to their religious history. But I certainly could be looking in the wrong places.

    And I will also say that I do think that my church does get the relationship part of it right. And beyond that they are feeding the poor, and providing all kinds of community services, and shamelessly promote Jesus through out.

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    1. That's good.

      There are different kinds of Lutherans: there are the Evangelical Lutherans, who range between evangelical and liberal, then there are the more hardline Lutherans - LCMS, WELS, LCC - who are more traditionalist, and theology-centred.

      One similarly finds evangelical-type Reformed / Presbyterian, and more traditionalist Reformed / Presbyterian (as well as, unfortunately, liberal mainline Protestant Reformed / Presbyterian, but at least they tend to be fairly separate from the actual faithful).

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