I just finished reading “Why Men Hate Going to Church.” Murrow’s book was very hopeful, until I finished it. He has put his finger on a real problem — the feminization of Christianity. But the problem is even wider, it includes the feminization of Western Culture.
It is true that biblical Christianity is not feminine, but as Podles has indicated, it was feminized during the Middle Ages — and has not recovered. And the feminizing force would be the Roman Catholic Church by definition.
The theological effort to defeminize the church came in the 1500s and is known as the Reformation. Thus, you will find that genuine Reformation theology is clearly not feminine, and that it continues to be a target of the radical feminists. Whereas, the theological enemy of the Reformation — Arminianism and Pelegianism — have adapted themselves to the feminine mystique, as can be verified in today’s churches by examining a specific church’s policy regarding women and its theological perspective.
It is primarily the PCA, OPC, etc. (and a few theologically confused fundamentalists) who continue to insist upon male leadership of the church. Why this fact has not appeared in Murrow’s book is a mystery to me. As a Presbyterian, he should know this. In contrast, his suggestion is to forget about theology and just get practical. But to forget theology (understanding what the Bible actually says and means) is to drift into faithlessness. Rather, the practical aspects of church life necessarily flow out of its theology, whether that theology is recognized or not. Thus, Murrow’s practicality is right on track with the major traditions of the (Arminian and Pelegian) Church Growth Movement, which I have criticized elsewhere.
The problem is that Murrow suggests shallow solutions to a real problem. The problem is not that men are not attending church. Rather, the problem is that the churches are not functioning according to Scripture. Just getting a bunch of beer-swilling men into church will not solve anything. What is needed is to get those who are not actual Christians out of the church — men and women alike — and to conform the church to its biblical pattern.
The solution is not to grow a bunch of gigantic, fun loving churches to attract Godless men. God doesn’t care about size, he cares about faithfulness. The solution is to prune the dead wood out of the churches to produce new growth, just as hedges and vines are pruned to stimulate their growth.
“For as many as were baptized into Christ, you put on Christ. There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is no male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:27-29).
Again, the problem is not that there is a lack of men in the church, but that there is a lack of Christians in the church, and that has led to the weakening of the church and the feminization and liberalization of the culture.
Let’s talk about it.