I read that men are leaving the church in droves due to the feminization of the church. Is this true? A couple of ministers I spoke to admitted they were having trouble getting men to church, but I don’t know if this is part of a wider trend.
This is very much true – that the church has been feminized and men are leaving because of it, and has been a trend for quite some time. Leon Podles, in his work The Church Impotent, describes the beginnings of this feminization. This feminization intensified through the lack of presence of men via the Industrial Revolution, along with the feminized limp-wristed pastors. It has only continued from there, as detailed in many posts on this blog and others. As well, David Murrow has written a book called Why Men Hate Going To Church, which details many of the modern effects of this feminization.
It seems there’s just no place for true masculinity in many places. This is of false teaching and is both by design and unintentional. Some of the factors involved:
1. Men are less deceived by false doctrine.
There is a Scriptural injunction which states that women are not to teach (1 Timothy 2:11-14). The reason given is that in the example of Adam and Eve, Eve was the one who was deceived. This is indicative of most cases regarding women.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly [Other translations: gullible, vulnerable, weak, idle, foolish, weak-minded] women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:6-7)
As Barnes writes in his commentary of 2 Timothy 3:6:
Satan began his work of temptation with Eve rather than with Adam, and the advocates of error usually follow his example. There are always weak-minded women enough in any community to give an opportunity of practicing these arts, and often the aims of the impostor and deceiver can be best secured by appealing to them. Such women are easily flattered; they are charmed by the graceful manners of religious instructors; they lend a willing ear to anything that has the appearance of religion, and their hearts are open to anything that promises to advance the welfare of the world. At the same time, they are just such persons as the propagators of error can rely upon.
The central overriding goal of true Christianity is the conformity of the believer to Christ and the departure from the old life of the world and the flesh. This dichotomy has generated a lot of false doctrine through the solipsistic urgings of women throughout the history of the church. But when men confront such things, such as the feminine notion of a personal relationship with Jesus, there’s a revulsion, even if they don’t know any of the doctrine. Much more so when a request to explain the doctrine is met with an inability to answer, a ridiculous answer or hostility. The response: They walk out. Or they desire a clearly articulated doctrine of what Christianity is about and get the same. They walk out.
2. Many church environments favor women over men.
As I wrote here, the numbers of women in an environment can influence it more towards a feminine nature. This is an unintentional factor due to the simple numbers, when left uncontrolled. This most notably comes out in the decorations, but also in preferences for different things, like the kind of music and the way the sermons are delivered. There’s no quicker thing that says “not welcome” to a man than walking into a place decorated with doilies and flowers, and then singing “Jesus I’m So In Love With You”.
As well, women are favored in the typical “religious things”. Prayers are expected to be long flowery affairs. Sermons are even longer affairs than that. Plenty of sitting, and then…more sitting. With little gotten out of it by the time it is done. When these things happen that are more typical for women than men, then women are deemed more religious than men. This result is quite intentional. Women consume the Churchian fare, but are they really better for it in the sight of God? When men are met with long feelings-sharing sessions that they are unsuited for, but are expected to participate in, what is going to be the response? Exactly.
3. Men are typically denigrated in many church environments.
The root of feminism is the heretical doctrine of bridal mysticism, which states that women are more suited to be “brides of Christ” than men. This line of thinking has led to the heretical idea that men are inherently bad, while women are inherently good.
Paired with the idea of chivalry, this leads men to be constantly upbraided while women are left alone to do what they will against God. If a husband divorces his wife, he’s a mean wicked person. If a wife divorces her husband, poor dear that she was pushed into it by that wicked man! Or with pornography, it’s okay for women to look at their copies of 50 Shades of Grey, but how villainous that man is for looking at it at all!
When a man walks into church, only to hear Mark Driscoll (or wannabe) screaming at men for fornicating with women. Meanwhile, the women that willfully fornicate themselves are just victims pressed into it by the men (or don’t ever do it at all). Men know what the score is. Or if they don’t, they’ll find out quickly.
4. There’s nothing of value for men to do in most churches.
When most men undertake something, they want to be involved. This is not a passive thing, but an active thing. Actively understand the doctrine, actively live the doctrine. But when it comes down to things in most churches, the message is always sent to men that they are just not needed – the only thing for them to do is show up, sit down, shut up, and pay the Churchian dues (aka tithe).
When a man seeks something to do, what does he find in most churches? Cookie ministries and sewing ministries. The singing ministry in a choir or otherwise, maybe, but more than likely not. There’s always the chance of a scrap of work on the building once in a great while if the leadership doesn’t contract it out. Anything of a Scriptural role? The ordained (and paid) ministers got those things locked up, along with the elders and deacons. In such an ingrown institution as most churches, that’s all that’s really possible. Things get even worse when he finds women in those typical roles (he should leave then anyway) – they signal straight away where men stand. A man could stick around and hope he gets trusted enough by the women. But men tend to go where they’re needed…Most men just aren’t needed in church environments. There’s better places.
In conclusion, there’s a lot that is done that is counter-productive to the cause of inclusiveness of both men and women in the full work and activity in these churches. Much of what is being done obscures the truth of who and what Jesus was. Reading Scripture reveals a much different Jesus and a much different and more active Church than what we see today – it was a priesthood of all believers, each believer that had his/her work for the Kingdom of God before them, ordained from the Lord by grace. In a vibrant church, there is more than enough for all believers to do in service. It’s no coincidence that there is more true inspiration from the US Marine Corps regarding following Christ (for after all, that community was modeled on true Christian community) than in the average church today.
One of the hopes of this blog is to reveal the true Christ and the true nature of the Church before men – that the light may be revealed. Like most would hate to be misrepresented by others, Jesus is very misrepresented by numerous people, including those who profess to follow Him. My urge to those reading this blog is that they seek Him out to learn who and what He is about, and not seek out men. For those that seek Him will find Him and learn the truth that can set them free.