Archive for the 'Religion/Theology' Category


Why Should Christian Men Marry? (Confronting Anti-Male Bigotry in Churches)

Have you ever heard of Carolyn McCulley? Carolyn is an Evangelical commentator who recently wrote a book entitled Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? She also attends the same church where the reputable Evangelical author Joshua Harris preaches. At Carolyn’s website there is a quote from another woman writer, Elisabeth Elliot, that is noteworthy:

“Everywhere my husband and I go we meet lovely Christian women, beautifully dressed, deeply spiritual, thoroughly feminine–and single. They long for marriage and children. But what is it with the men? Are they blind to feminine pulchritude, deaf to God’s call, numb to natural desire? . . . Where are the holy men of God willing to shoulder the full responsibility of manhood, to take the risks and make the sacrifices of courting and winning a wife, marrying her and fathering children in obedience to the command to be fruitful? While the Church has been blessed by men willing to remain single for the sake of the Kingdom (and I do not regard lightly such men who are seriously called), isn’t it obvious that God calls most men to marriage? By not marrying, those whom He calls are disobeying Him, and thus are denying the women He meant for them to marry the privileges of being wife and mother.”

Well, this is a serious charge for someone to be making against religious men. It’s not the first time the charge has been made and it will probably not be the last. Because of its serious nature (accusing men of being disobedient to God), it merits an answer. Here’s the short answer: You are way off base, Mrs. Elliot (as is Ms. McCulley and many others). Why do you and so many other religious pundits wonder aloud about the spirituality of single Christian men? I expect anti-male sexism from feminists, but that it also comes from many so-called “Bible-Believing” religious leaders is mind-blowing. It’s utterly scandalous and a reproach to the name of Jesus. Let’s get a few things straight about the Anti-Bachelor Marriage Craze currently infecting some pundits, shall we?

It’s Not in the Bible

First of all, and most importantly, the idea that God mandates most people to marry (pronuptialism) is a blatantly unscriptural idea. I have already dealt with the exegetical weaknesses behind this doctrine (see the essays “Does God Expect Most Men to Get Married?” and “How the Marriage Movement Misuses 1 Corinthians, Chapter Seven“). Ladies and gentlemen, you can drop James Dobson, Joshua Harris, Albert Mohler, Debbie Maken, every single one of your favorite Evangelical authors, and even John Calvin himself on one end of the scales and the Bible on the other. The Bible wins hands down, every single time. I don’t care how popular someone is. If their exegesis is off, then they aren’t speaking as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11).

It’s Not a Harmless Doctrine

Secondly, I do not believe the doctrine of pronuptialism is a harmless doctrine. I think it has the potential for making a shipwreck of people’s faith. For one thing, imagine a young soul being told he has no control over his sexual desires and therefore he has to marry (a notion based on a popular misreading of 1 Corinthians 7:2, 7:8-9). The problem is that he hasn’t won the obligatory popularity contest with the opposite sex. He remains single and frustrated. He gets angry at God because he assumes his Creator has given him an appetite that he can neither check nor lawfully sate. Robbed of any confidence he might have in controlling himself, he reasons, “I can’t help my feelings therefore I am going to do something illicit.”

Then there is another young man who looks at the onerous burden of marriage, all of the obligatory social expectations, the fallout from failed unions, etc. and shies away from matrimony. But here come the religious leaders to point their fingers at this young man and shame him for his choices. So, he gets bitter and drops out of church, or he ill-advisedly enters into marriage out of obligation to a social custom (not because he has any substantive feelings for his wife). The seeds of an unhappy marriage are thus sown. In short, the idea that most people have no choice but to marry needs to have a spear driven through it Phineas-style.

God created marriage as a gift, not as a requirement. It’s true that human beings were made with reproductive organs, but God gave us mastery over our desires. Thus, it can be said that marriage was made for man but not man for marriage. Evangelicals, like the Pharisees who became legalistic about the Sabbath, have gone overboard with their pro-marriage agenda, falling into a pit of absurdity. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical one. We are not under the Old Covenant of Israel anymore, therefore God’s kingdom is not preserved by family lineage (Matthew 3:9; Luke 8:20-21; Luke 12:51-53). That is, the kingdom increases by sharing the Gospel (Matthew 27:19; Romans 1:16-17; James 1:18), not by making babies and filling padded pews with third-generation parishioners. And what if no one gets married and has children? Gasp! Well, do you think the “game of love” is going to go on forever (Psalm 102:25-26; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Mark 12:25)?

Why Men Aren’t Stepping Up (Like Sheep to the Slaughter)

Why do people keeping ignoring the 300-pound gorillas in the room? Are the pundits clued in to the real reasons why religious men are refusing to marry? For any Christian ladies reading this, let me offer some possible reasons …


It takes money to raise a family, Sherlock. We are not in Kansas anymore, and we don’t grow our own food. Many Christian women expect to stay home, have a brood of children, and yet live quite comfortably. Where do they get the idea that God will necessarily bless us with creature comforts? Don’t parrot the line, “God will provide.” I don’t need the sham promise of a materialistic, prosperity theology. Shall we suppose that godliness is an automatic “means of gain” (1 Timothy 6:3-11)? What on earth are some Christian women thinking? That every Christian man has a shot at a cushy, middle management job in some Silicon Valley outfit?

Let me direct your gaze to the social pyramid that stands before you, ladies. Where is the middle class? Yeah, it’s shrinking isn’t it? Carolyn McCulley points to some guy as the model of what male “servant-leadership looks like in a godly home.” No he isn’t a model. The guy in question has a comfortable position in the upper echelons of our corrupt, bloated government. Forgive me for being blunt, but Carolyn and all her middle-class, yuppie cohorts on the Evangelical writer circuit need to come down to earth where many of us live with low-paying jobs, increased costs of living, and other stressors in our daily lives.

What do the religious pundits expect rank and file men to do? Barely live from paycheck to paycheck just so we have the luxury–yes I said luxury (Luke 12:15; Luke 14:26; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31)–of having a housewife and three kids? Is that the message they preach from the lecterns of their comfortable, posh megachurches? Yep, go ahead and bind heavy burdens on religious men, but refuse to lift a finger to help them. Where have we seen this before (Matthew 23:4)?

Arrogance about Sex Roles

We hear about how men need to take the lead in relationships, need to fill the roll of “the provider,” etc. We read that women should pick men who are “physically, mentally, and spiritually” stronger than they are (Jaye Martin, “The Marks of a Godly Husband,” The Tie, Winter 2005, pg. 17). Hmm. Let’s consider those attributes, shall we? I wonder what happens when a man gets a disability and his wife has to care for him. Does he cease being a man since he is no longer physically strong? What about mental strength? I guess a college-educated woman has to pass up a man with a high school education, even though he’s wonderful in every other way. And spiritual strength? We are all called to be mature in Christ, but don’t tell Jaye Martin that.

Seriously, are we using the same Bible? Where is all of this stuff about “Biblical Manhood” spelled out in the New Testament, the spiritual law under which Christians live (Hebrews 8:1-13)? Let’s see … do you want to sling 1 Timothy 5:8 at me, for instance? That passage is not talking about male breadwinners. The original language, grammar, and context point to those of either sex needing to take care of family members in need. That so many self-appointed experts on “Biblical manhood” rip this and other passages out of context is utterly astounding.

Anyway, if Christian women are so adamant about following traditional roles, why don’t they stay at home with their parents, learn how to cook, clean, etc., instead of going to work and competing with men for scare jobs in a tight job market? I think I know the answer. So many “conservative” women have jumped aboard the neo-traditionalist bandwagon. Do you think I exaggerate? Willard Harley, a popular author among many Evangelicals describes the type of man that women supposedly find “irresistible”:

“He assumes the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe the family. If his income is insufficient to provide essential support, he resolves the problem by upgrading his skills to increase his salary. He does not work long hours, keeping himself from his wife and family, but is able to provide necessary support by working a forty to forty-five-hour week. While he encourages his wife to pursue a career, he does not depend on her salary for family living expenses.”

Ah yes. What’s yours is yours. What’s mine is yours. Here’s the kicker: I know that many of you ladies don’t want to really go back to the time of your grandmothers and have your opportunities limited. You don’t want to make the kind of sacrifices in your personal lives that many women in the past had to make. Yet you want us men to live by the old codes of chivalry. You want to make us lie down in the mire, while you step on our backs to get inside the carriage that summarily rides away from us. You want to have your cake and eat it, too. Bottom line: Your neo-traditionalism is a sick joke, a pathetic double-standard.

Moreover, your views on “Biblical manhood” and romantic relationships are just as unrealistic and demeaning as all the airbrushed, photoshopped images put out by Playboy. In your marriages, you expect some sort of Superman who will make all of the hard decisions for you, read your mind, and somehow arrive at the choices you would pick. He will be emotionally strong, never have any fears, doubts, uncertainties, vulnerabilities, weakness, or (gasp) needs. The husband you want is not human. Indeed, I wonder why so many marriages in the Evangelical community end in divorce. You ladies need to get your head out of your Christian romance novels and deal with life.

Who is the Real Shallow One?

Speaking of romance novels–ladies, do you believe us men are the shallower sex? Yes, we are the ones that supposedly don’t accept you because you are morbidly obese. Cry me a river. You want to excoriate us for our physical preferences in women, even thought it’s pretty much proven that men are visually attracted to the opposite sex. Well God made us this way. A lot of young women used to die in childbirth before modern medicine. Did you think God thought it expedient for us to seek out women who don’t physically take care of themselves? Well, at least the answer to this question never got in the way of you seeking out someone taller or “physically stronger” (How many times have I read that your dream man “must be athletic”?). These attributes, while acceptable, have nothing to do with the character of a man. So, why aren’t you accused of being shallow and “hung up on looks”?

And what about judging us by the amount of money we make? I haven’t heard a sermon on how women need to stop objectifying men in this way, lately. Have you? Again, you compete with us for our jobs, but you refuse to marry us when we make less money than you (because your concept of “Biblical manhood” rests on the size of our paycheck, of all things). Then you wonder where all the men are at the end of day. Surprise, surprise. You priced yourselves out of the market, sweeties.

Sex – Yes I Said The Word!

Not too long ago, Stephen Arterburn and two other men wrote a book entitled Every Man’s Battle : Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time. In essence, the book portrays men as wanton beasts and women as passive victims of male lechery (although one review entitled, “A Mixed Bag” has some shocking things to say about the “fairer sex”). This is not the first time men have been harangued for there sexual behavior. Everywhere, Christian men are confronted by the same unflattering stereotypes: Male sexuality is so suspicious. It is so dangerous. People need to rein all our sons and brothers in with stern, Biblical teaching. Really?

Who demeans sex? Is it the male philander? The man who gawks at physically attractive women? What about the wife who uses it for her own ambitions!? Yes, I typed that. It is sad to know that there are religious women who are so conniving in this regard. Ladies, let me inform you of something: Sex isn’t just about having children. Is marriage just the means of getting a trophy husband and trophy children so you could be among the Martha Stewart glitterati at church? Some of you probably want children for the same reason girls go overboard and collect dolls. Human beings in this case just become pawns to boost your ego. Alas, the desire to be a mother isn’t always noble (especially when men get treated as nothing more than glorified sperm donors).

Also, some of you see sex as something to be rationed out for a husband’s good behavior. If he mows the lawn on Thursday, you’ll passively allow yourself to be used on Friday. Utterly sad. Sex is what two married people who love each other do for the sheer intrinsic worth of it (Proverbs 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5). In the Good Book, it says the two shall become one flesh (Matthew 19:4-5). It’s that simple. That means if he wants you to dress up in exotic sleepwear and play Sex Queen from the Planet Venus, then you better drop the hang-ups from your childhood (which are probably the result of listening to too many sermons from old, cornpone preachers). And if you can’t do that, make an appointment with a counselor. It’s your turn to start being “understanding” of “your partner’s needs.”

Oh by way, single men can live without sex. It is ridiculous that so many religious pundits are utterly schizophrenic about male sexuality. Look, either we have the power of self-control or we don’t. Which way is it?? If we don’t have the power of self-control, no one can blame us for being like a bunch of sex-crazed farm animals that seek out porn, prostitution, and whatever else to sate our immediate desires. If, on the other hand, we do have the power of self-control (which I believe we do), then don’t try to frighten us into marriage by saying most people aren’t gifted to handle singleness. And stop your evil surmising about single men.

Even at a young age, some of us are seasoned enough to see through the sham pearls of physical beauty and charm. Ladies, when you smile and fluff your hair, we can just give ourselves peace of mind by looking the other way. We know what physically attracts us, but we are not obligated to pursue it.

If all else were equal, then sexual desire would be a compelling enough motivation to seek out female companionship. But else isn’t equal. There are so many other variables that have bearing upon a man’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being when considering the company of women.

We are Not Your Whipping Boys

Some of you are really like the feminists deep down side. For you, it’s women good, men bad. If something goes wrong in your lives, well, it must be because of something men did or failed to do. Too many churches and ministries have sold out to the spirit of male-bashing. For instance, we have Promise Keepers to keep men on the straight and narrow, but where are the football stadiums full of women promising to be better wives and mothers? Are you women so infallible? Are you so untainted from the ungodliness in this culture?

Men have beaten down too much. We are told that we are insensitive; then we are told we are being too wimpy. We are too told that we need to be industrious and ambitious; then we are old that we work too much and don’t pay enough attention to our families. We were shamed for our desires for women; and now we are shamed for not desiring women. We are getting sick and tired of the blame game.

Why do religious pundits push this nonsense? Is it because of the fact that mostly women fill the pews and someone doesn’t want to offend the core audience? I hazard to guess which sex consults most of the books and media put out by the “relationship experts.” Who wants to bite the hand that feeds them? Really, this all looks like a replay of what the Apostle Paul complained about in 2 Timothy 3:6-7.

Women Behaving Badly

Men are beginning to understand that having relationships with women is a high-risk activity of uncertain benefit. Which sex initiates the most no-fault divorces? Which sex often gets bankrupted by court-ordered alimony and child support settlements of astronomical proportions? Which sex gets custody of the children most of the time? Which sex is often the target of false charges of spousal abuse (even though many studies prove that both sexes initiate spousal abuse at comparable rates)? Who often gets removed from their property and thrown in jail merely because of an unproven allegation by the other spouse? Which sex is often forced to pay child support for offspring who are not even related to the one paying that support? Simply put, the family laws on the books are decidedly stacked against men.

Courting among a religious group is no protection for a man, either. Christian women can break up families just like their secular counterparts. Divorce statistics among Evangelicals are scandalous. Too many churches have a lax attitude towards the practice of divorce and serial monogamy. So, where are the cries of reform from the marriage mafia?

But that’s not all. So many of you ladies used to chase the “bad boys” and the guys who were exciting and attractive by the world’s standards (or even by the church’s standards) but who weren’t really spiritual. In your youth, you snubbed many of us who dreamed of being married to a godly woman. Now the chickens have come home to roost. Your biological clocks are ticking. All of a sudden, Christian men that were formerly invisible to you somehow have the responsibility to line up and submit a job application to you for the position of Hubby. Give. Me. A. Break.

It’s All About You, Snookums

In short, too many conservative women have only cared about restricting sex, shaming bachelors into marriage, shaming men into old restrictive sex roles, and pretty much preserving the sex cartel and system of male wage slavery. Being a responsible husband to one of these women would be nice if they (a) stopped playing the hypocrite with regard to honoring traditional sex roles (e.g., they compete with us for our jobs, but they still expect us to make more than them); (b) realized that Corporate America no longer pays hubby well for the financing of their Cinderella dreams; (c) stopped treating us like walking ATMs; (d) realized that sex isn’t just for having children; (e) realized sex is something to be enjoyed, not something to be rationed out only when men perform certain tasks; (f) repented of putting down men; (g) repented of their crypto-feminism; and (h) appreciated what Men’s Rights Activists fight for. The ugly truth no one wants to face is this: Religious and politically conservative women in English-speaking countries have, in many cases, imbibed the sentiments of female entitlement, professional victimhood, and anti-male sexism found in the larger culture. So, it’s not enough to be just anti-feminist. You must be for men. You are either with us or against us, ladies. If you are not fully with us, stay out of lives, so that we can stay free from the leaven of your self-centeredness and malice.


Now what will be the reaction to what I said just far? Forget about the threats and shaming tactics, ladies. Too many women dismiss men’s problems with the attitude that we should “stop being so bitter,” “stop whining,” “get over it,” “show initiative,” “keep trying,” and “suck it up.” Women who voice these sentiments tell us all we need to know about them. As long as everything is going well in their little world, they don’t care about what’s going on in ours. If these women are not willing to listen to our concerns before we marry them, they are probably not willing to do so afterwards. They have nothing to offer us in the way of emotional support.

Ladies, stop and consider: Wanting you is not the same as needing you. That many of you wrap so much of your expectations into the institution of marriage is pathetic. You treat it as some sort of spiritual nirvana that will provide the answers to just about all of life’s problems. But for many of us men, God has carried us thus far through loneliness, social ostracization, and unrequited desire. He is able of carrying us much further (Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:6). He gives us a genuine choice about pursuing marriage (1 Corinthians 7:37-38). We can find our happiness and self-worth without you.

As for the religious pundits that speak soothing things into the ears of women, I call all religious men to stand up and recognize these spin doctors for the spiritual Philistines that they are. I hope that us men will turn against the ungodly ministries of these people and check their influence. Our worth as men is God-given, not derived from fulfilling some religious chick’s dreams.


How the Marriage Movement Misuses 1 Corinthians, Chapter Seven

When a discussion of marriage and celibacy is taken up by Evangelical pundits, some of them would have you believe that God expects most people to marry in order “to avoid fornication.” The Bible proof-text most quoted for this idea is 1 Corinthians 7:1-2:

“Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me. It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” (NKJV)

A lot of people assume that this passage means that most people just don’t have the self-control to stay single. But in actuality, the verse is not talking about single people; it’s talking about married people. Consider what Gordon Fee has to say in his commentary on 1 Corinthians regarding v. 2:

“His [Paul’s] response to their slogan—and remedy for the cause of porneia—is (literally): ‘Let each man be having his own wife, and each woman be having her own husband.’ This sentence in particular presents considerable difficulties for the traditional view. First, it does not say that people should get married, a verb Paul is obviously willing to use in this section when he intends that (v. 9). Second, there is no known evidence that the idiom ‘to have a wife’ means ‘to take a wife.’ In fact this idiom is common in biblical Greek and usually means either to ‘have sexually’ (Exod. 2:1; Deut. 28:30; Isa. 13:16) or simply to be married or to be in continuing sexual relations with a man or woman (see esp. 5:1 and 7:29; cf. Mark 6:18; John 4:18). Third, the terms ‘each man/woman’ and ‘his/her own’ should mean that Paul intends everyone in the community to get married. Since the rest of the chapter contradicts that, this is read in other ways: to ‘imply monogamy’ or to mean ‘as a general rule.’

“When the clauses are taken at face value, however, giving all the words their normal usage, then Paul is saying No to their slogan as far as married partners are concerned. Thus he means: ‘Let each man who is already married continue in relations with his own wife, and each wife likewise.'” (Fee, Epistle to the First Corinthians (NICNT), pp. 278-279)

Some, mistakenly believing v. 2 applies to single people, want to make the instructions in that verse the “concession” that Paul speaks of in v.6 (see John Macarthur, 1 Corinthians), but Fee rightly comments on v. 6:

“As throughout the paragraph, the ordinary sense of words in their immediate context offers the best understanding of the sentence. Their [the Corinthian’s] letter has argued for abstinence from sexual relations within marriage, to which Paul in vv. 2-5a has responded with an empathic No. That leads to incontinence, he says in 5c, and the cases of sexual immorality that already are a plague on your house. So stop defrauding one another in this matter, he commands, unless perhaps there is temporary abstinence by mutual consent at set times for prayer. But this is a concession for you; you are not to take it as a command. Thus even such a good thing as temporary abstinence for prayer will not be raised to the level of command, precisely because of (1) the difficulties that already persist in the church over this matter, and (2) that fact that such matters belong to the category of “gift” not requirement, as he will go on to say in v. 7.” (Ibid, 283-284)

As with a lot of commentators, Fee suggests that celibacy is the gift of God that Paul mentions some have (v. 7). Fee takes celibacy to mean the “singular freedom from the desire or need of sexual fulfillment” (Ibid., 284). However, even if one grants this interpretation, it is a leap of logic to assume that other people who do have normal sexual desire are required to get married. Some would like to suggest that vv. 8-9 teaches this:

“But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (NKJV)

But, again, let’s consider Fee for some commentary on this passage:

“For many later Christians this has been the troubling verse. Paul is seen to be arguing in v. 8 for all singles to stay that way, then as making allowance for marriage for those who cannot remain continent, for it is better to be married than to be consumed with sexual passion. But it is doubtful whether Paul’s point is quite so stark. In the first place, Paul does not say (as the NIV), ‘if they cannot control themselves.’ Rather he says, ‘if they do not, or are not practicing continence (or exercising self-control).’ The implication is that some of these people are doing the same as some of the married in vv. 1-7, practicing ‘sexual immorality,’ that is, probably also going to prostitutes. The antidote for such sin is to get married instead.

“With an explanatory ‘for’ Paul appends a reason: ‘It is better to marry (or to be married) than to burn.’ This final word is the difficult one. The usage is clearly metaphorical, but it could refer either to burning with desire or burning in judgment (cf. 3:15). Since both of these can be supported from Jewish sources, that evidence is not decisive. The question must finally be decided contextually, and by Paul’s usage in 2 Cor. 11:29, which is almost certainly a metaphor for inner passion. Even though the larger context, including the warning in 6:9-10, could be argued to support the judgment metaphor, such an idea is missing from the immediate context altogether. It seems more likely, therefore, that Paul intended that those who are committing sexual sins should rather marry than be consumed by the passions of their sins.

“In this case, then, Paul is not so much offering marriage as the remedy for the sexual desire of ‘enflamed youth,’ which is the most common way of viewing the text, but as the proper alternative for those who are already consumed by that desire and are sinning.” (Fee, 288-289)

The bottom line is that Paul never commanded single people who have normal sexual desires to get married, per se. His exhortation to marry was for people already committing fornication and were thereby burning in unrestrained passions. Fornication is never acceptable, so somene who refuses to practice self-control is better off getting married than continuing in sin.

On the other hand, to claim that most people must choose between marriage or fornication is to pose a false dilemma. Average single people can choose a third way: practice self-control. They do not have to marry if they really don’t want to. It is true that people who have the rare trait (gift?) of being asexual have an easier time than single people who do have sexual desires but are trying to remain chaste. Yet it is also true that single people who have sexual desires but are trying to remain chaste have an easier time than people in lousy marriages. Sex, then, is not a compelling enough reason to browbeat people (especially men) into walking down the aisle! In conclusion, if single people want to get married, it is permissible but it is not required. That some Evangelical commentators are currently trying force single people into marriage using passages such as 1 Corinthians 7 is sad indeed.

Works mentioned:

Fee, Gordon. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987.

Macarthur, John. 1 Corinthians. Macarthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1984.


Follow-Up to “An Open Post to the Harris Brothers”

And now my response to Alex Harris’ answer to my last post:

Impressive. Most impressive. You have learned much … but you are are not a Jedi yet …

You write …

“Our article was targeted at young adults who plan to get married someday, but who are not adequately preparing for it. Furthermore, our use of Genesis 2:24 was only to prelude the disclaimer that, for such young adults, “living with your parents before you get married can be a very good thing.” It was not used to argue that it is God’s plan for everyone to get married.

“We have no problem with young people who feel called to forego marriage in order to better serve God. They are not outcasts or oddballs. Obviously, the Apostle Paul didn’t think so. However, we do have a problem with young people who delay marriage out of self-indulgence and sloth [emphasis mine], or because they think they can get the sexual benefits from a relationship without the responsibilities that accompany the commitment of marriage.

Because we felt your post distracted from the message of the article by addressing what we view as an entirely different issue (a straw man, if you will), it failed to meet the second criterion.”

I respond: I understand that you don’t believe everyone is required to marry, but apparently you and many others in certain Evangelical circles believe some are. I did address this mindset in my original article. To wit, I wrote:

“In particular, I note that several Evangelical commentators believe God ordains a minority of souls to be single. Everyone else, on the other hand, is supposed to get married. In fact, some pundits now talk about the ‘sin of delaying marriage.'”

I am addressing your position, here, not a straw man, as you suggest. After all, if it was just self-indulgence and sloth that was the problem of young people, then why the need to interject a discussion of marriage? As it is, not only do I believe that not everyone is required to marry, I believe no one is required to marry. If a young man’s excuse for foregoing marriage is as trivial as he doesn’t want to mow the lawn, well guess what? That’s his decision. He’s not necessarily sinning. One doesn’t need a “special calling” to refuse marriage. The state of marriage is a gift, not a requirement. One should get married because he wants to, not out of some sense of obligation to a religious tradition. That is what I addressed in my article that I linked to your website. In the New Testament age, there is no requirement to marry under any circumstances. The closest one gets to a requirement is a concession for people who refuse to practice self-control (1 Cor. 7:9). In short, you failed to address a very serious challenge to your theological presuppositions.

Alex continues …

“Many of our readers are on the younger side. They are allowed and encouraged to visit our blog by their parents because the message it promotes is one that is consistent with their family’s values. It is our policy to remove links to sites that are not in line with those values, or which include content (or links to other sites) that we deem to be inappropriate for our younger readers.

“Because we felt that your post and blog is inconsistent with the values of our reader’s families and the purpose of our blog, and because of concerns over the appropriateness of several websites linked to on your sidebar, it failed to meet this third and final criterion.”

Inconsistent with the values of your reader’s families? You certainly didn’t mean to suggest that Faith and Society is incongruent with Biblical Christianity, did you? I hope you are not confusing holiness with sectarian dogma. You know, if a non-religious liberal did what you did, would you call it “political correctness”?

It is true that I cannot control all of the content to which I link and, yes, it is true that some writers say things that I would not. But this blog is not an echo chamber or an electronic hermitage. So, if you expect your teenaged audience to move beyond the “kidult” phase, then perhaps you should be consistent: trust them to think for themselves and to engage opposing viewpoints. What will they do when they get out in the real world, away from their hermetically sealed existence of home-schooling, community churches, accountability groups, and pop evangelicalism?

I tell you truly: (1) It was Christians that led me to my libertarian philosophy. (2) It is my Christianity that leads me to oppose feminism. (3) It was Christians who taught me to reject denominationalism and to make the Bible my only rule of faith. That means I must reject what is being taught by so many Evangelicals. It is unfortunate that I must be direct in my tone, but those of your persuasion have been less than charitable in your characterization of young men who find marriage unpalatable.

Remember, you may delete links to my blog, but many people have access to Google.


An Open Post to the Harris Brothers

I recently came across a post on Rebelution, a blog hosted by Alex and Brett Harris (younger brothers of the Evangelical writer Joshua Harris). It adjured young people to grow up and take responsibility for themselves. I have no problem with that message (1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). What I do have a problem with is the presumptuous notion that growing up includes the obligatory embrace of matrimony. Single men, except for a few oddballs, must get married, donch’a know? Uh, no. Sorry. I think Alex and Brett are misusing the Scriptures on that point. It’s that simple.

So, in light of this, I posted a TrackBack from a recent post here (“Does God Expect Most Men to Get Married?“) to their respective post. What they do? Did they defend their teachings? Did they come over here and challenge mine? Nope. They deleted my TrackBack. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am disappointed. What is the matter with so many Evangelicals these days? For all their talk about being brave and standing for the truth of God’s word, they seem to resort to drastic measures when another Bible-believer points out their misapplication of Scriptures.

With all due respect to you, fellas, I believe that you and your famous brother Joshua Harris are incorrect in your understanding of courtship, sex roles, etc. Don’t take this personally. If you want to presume to tell other people what to do with their lives, you better have a “thus saith the Lord” (1 Peter 4:11). Indeed, the Scriptures state that very few should be teachers (James 3:1).

So, if you are really men for God, gird up thy loins, and make answer to me. Defend your application of Genesis 2:24. I daresay it is not a biding commandment on us today. What do you say? Point out the error of my ways. If I am in error, do you think the God wants me to stay there?

Or may you should accept that fact that you have been defeated by the very truths of the Book you claim to follow. If you cannot defend your teachings, you need to hold your tongue, lest the word of God make you out to be a liar (Proverbs 30:6). If the task is too great a task for you, get your brother Josh over here. In fact, get Albert Mohler or John Piper. Have they built upon their foundations with straw or stone? Can their works stand the test of fire? Are their foundations even of stone? Or sand?

Perhaps you are annoyed at such a challenge and are purposing in your heart not to dignify my words with a response. Very well, but remember that I have a wide audience, too … of indignant men who are tired of being pushed around by the Status Quo. I have no desire to impugn your motives. Let me just say this: Like the Pharisees of old, today’s cultural conservatives want to tie burdens on the back of the common man. I’m not putting up with it anymore. Those who push man-made, culture-bound, traditionalist teachings can run away from a challenge, but they can’t hide. If it is the Lord’s will, I will continue my expose of the anti-single bigotry and misandry that is prevalent among Evangelicals.


Does God Expect Most Men to Get Married? (Introducing the PMV Bible)

Marriage SignI have read a lot of commentary from religious leaders about single people. In particular, I note that several Evangelical commentators believe God ordains a minority of souls to be single. Everyone else, on the other hand, is supposed to get married. In fact, some pundits now talk about the “sin of delaying marriage.”

Until now, I could never figure out where some people were getting the notion that God expects most people to marry. How could they deal with the Apostle Paul’s clear teachings on singleness? Then it occurred to me. These religious leaders must have a different Bible than I do! I guess my mistake was in using texts such as the King James Version, New King James Version, and yes, even the fourth edition of the UBS Greek New Testament. But don’t worry. I think I tracked down the version these people are using. I refer to none other than the newly published Pro-Marriage Version of the Bible (PMV), released by the Familianity International Institute of Evangelical Eisegesis. To get an idea of the scholarship that lies behind the celebrated PMV, I want to show you how so many scriptures read in this version of the Bible when compared to, say, the King James Version (KJV):

Genesis 1:27-28

(KJV): So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish and the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

(PMV): So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female He created them. Then it was commanded you, having been said to you, dear reader, “Keep multiplying, whether the earth is full or not.”

Genesis 2:18

(KJV): And the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.”

(PMV): And then it was said, “Not only is it bad for Adam to be alone, but it is bad for other men to be alone, too! Women are made for all of them.” And, lo it was reckoned that all women are God’s gift to men, or at least many act like they are.

Genesis 2:24

(KJV): Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

(PMV): Therefore let us move beyond mere explanations for why a man seeks out a woman. Let’s go on to say that all men must do this. It so decreed! End of discussion.

Proverbs 18:22

(KJV): Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor from the Lord.

(PMV): Only those who findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor from the Lord. Every else lives the desperate life of a sad loser. Ignore other passages in Proverbs about contentious women, women who make their husbands ashamed, and hateful women who get married. Of course, one wonders about a woman who seeketh a husband. What does she findeth? “A meal ticket,” sayeth an ornery, old man. May someone maketh the old man shut up.

Proverbs 19:14

(KJV): Houses and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.

(PMV): House and riches are what you get when you become a Dad, and a prudent wife is from the Lord. So what are you waiting for? You’re commanded to enjoy the Good Life! Oh, by the way, peanuts and wheat are also from the Lord, so you better partake of these blessings whether you have allergies or not! Why? Because if it is good and if it is from the Lord, you are commanded to partake of it! You are not allowed to question the basis of our interpretation! We find your lack of faith disturbing! By the way, ignore other passages in Proverbs about contentious women, women who make their husbands ashamed, and hateful women who get married.

Ecclesiastes 9:9

(KJV): Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity …

(PMV): Live with a wife, joyfully or not, all of the days of the life of thy vanity …

Malachi 2:15

(KJV): And did not He make one? Yet had He the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed …

(PMV): And did not He make one? Yet had He the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed. And who are the godly seed? Why Christian families! Surely they must be same the “holy seed” of Ezra 9:2. You know, since Christian families are the “holy seed” by birthright, not only do they refuse to marry foreigners, but they also sacrifice bulls and goats and stay away from pork!

Matthew 19:10-11

(KJV): His disciples say unto Him, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it not good to marry.” But He [Jesus] said to unto them, “All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.”

(PMV): His disciples say unto Him, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it not good to marry.” But the reply was given, “Most men cannot receive the saying, ‘It is good to be single.'” And the disciples were amazed because that wasn’t quite what they said.

1 Corinthians 7:2

(KJV): Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

(PMV): Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have a wife, whether she be his own or not, and let every woman have a husband, whether he be her own or not! Yea, every man and woman must do this, except for a few oddballs, and even though I am going to turn around and say something on behalf of singleness! Do I contradict myself? I speak in clever Parables!

1 Corinthians 7:7

(KJV): For I wish that all men were even as I myself, but every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

(PMV): For I wish that a few oddballs could be as I myself, but as for others who are like myself, they may not have the wonderful Gift of Singleness. Only a mysterious, select few have the vaunted Gift of Singleness. Now how can a Christian be simultaneously single and not yet have the Gift of Singleness is beyond me. I guess that if you are currently blessed with singleness and yet, don’t have the wonderful Gift of Singleness, then the singleness you are experiencing is a clever illusion. Therefore, you must stop being single because you really are not having the gift, even though it appears that you are. Enough! My head hurts. Don’t bother me with hard questions, you silly Corinthians!

1 Corinthians 7:8-9

(KJV): I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

(PMV): I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.


Wait a minute! That last verse looks the same in both versions! Yep. And too bad they are not the same as what is written in the original language. The phrase “cannot contain” is not in the Greek manuscripts, folks. It should be translated as “will not contain.” Yes, dear reader. We can claim that the Word of God is inerrant, but our English translations are a different story altogether.

Now you can tell that I used some sarcasm in most of the verses above to make a point. But let us not stop just yet. Here are some verses that are not in the Pro-Marriage Version of the Bible:

Proverbs 12:4

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 21:9

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Proverbs 30:21-23

For three things the earth is disquieted and for four it cannot bear: for a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; for an odious woman when she is married; and a handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

1 Corinthians 7:36-38

But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.


Oh boy, that last verse seems to put a nail in the coffin of the idea that God mandates most people to get married. That also puts the kibosh on telling people to “be fruitful and multiply” and to have “godly seed.” After all, it looks like God has given some people a genuine choice in the matter and He doesn’t seem think His sovereignty has been compromised by human beings exercising free will. Are there any Reformed Protestant theologians squirming in their seats because I said that? Tough.

Now let me say something in particular to any religious men that may be reading this. The idea that God wants most men to get married cannot be proven from the Scriptures. Someone might say that marriage is the norm in the Bible. Folks, agriculture is a norm in the Bible, too. Big, hairy deal. Anybody that tries to shame you into thinking that you need to get married and have children so that you can “grow up” and fulfill the “pattern of Biblical manhood” is selling you a Sam’s Club-sized vat of snake oil. Ignore such a person, and go your own way in this matter.


The Religious Right Is No Ally of Men

To men everywhere, the following thoughts were put to pen some time ago, but they are still applicable today:

You might think this strange coming from a Christian, but I have come to the conclusion that much of what passes as Conservative Christianity in this country is nothing but a false, materialistic gospel that serves the purposes of right-wing shills. True Christianity is the friend of no ideologue because its sacred core is simply not for sale.

I’m simply tired of the Religious/Political Right pretending to be my friend. Right-wingers railing against feminism is like the Nazis railing against Communism. That fact is that they are just as totalitarian as the feminists. Both camps would like to define for the rest of us what our manhood should be.

Let me point a few things out …

1. Right-wingers side with popular culture when they proclaim that men need women. One of their favorite arguments is that God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Actually, the verse in the original language says, “It is not good for THE man (Adam specifically) to be alone.” The Bible does not teach that all men need women in order to be “complete” as some think. Otherwise, the Apostle Paul would have never talked about the advantages of being single. The fact of the matter is that most of our misery has come from a flawed belief that we can’t have a life apart from women. We need to stop chasing women’s bodies. Bible-thumping Evangelists who proclaim that men ought to get married and “settle down” are aiding and abetting the enemy.

2. Right-wingers side with materialistic women when they talk about the “breadwinner.” There is not a single verse in the Bible that says a man must be the sole or even primary source of monetary income for his family. Fundamentalists will quote the passage that says, “If anyone provideth not for his own” and apply that verse solely to men, but in the original language and context the passage is generic (It applies to women as well as men.). Jesus said, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:14) but you’ll never hear the respectable pew-warmers who put on their Sunday best preach a sermon on that. No, there is an insinuation that if you are a man and haven’t (1) married a Barbie with a Bible; (2) made over 70k; (3) bought a house in the Burbs; (4) bought a SUV; and (5) have 3+ kids, then you haven’t arrived spiritually. Believe you me, this pseudo-gospel suits the primped, gold-digging Southern Belles, but it won’t suit you if you have a shred of self-awareness and integrity.

When you combine #1 and #2, you have a hopeless, elitist little game. Only the chosen few are allowed to be validated as human beings and as men. The rest of us are meant to be asexual losers, the objects of faux pity at best and scorn at worst. The instances of single men being treated like freak specimens of humanity in church communities is legion. There have been some real quacks who have hinted in so many words that if you don’t marry and settle down, you are not a real man. But alas, you’re expected to make enough dough to support the American Dream of your beautiful wife. This, even though these same right-wingers support social and political policies that hasten the erosion of the middle class. So in the end, we are expected to believe that God only allows the rich and beautiful to be “real men.”

What about porn? Prostitution? Personally I don’t condone these things, but consider WHY many religionists sound as dogmatic and rabid as the feminists about these matters. I think the answer simple. When you consider their other statements about manhood, you see that it all boils down to a debate about which special interest group is going to control the men in this society. For whoever controls men has power, and the primary way to do that is via men’s strong desire for physical and emotional intimacy. How else could the feminists and right-wing religionists make us jump through their self-serving hoops? They surely don’t want the Sex Industry cutting into their attempts to create an artificial scarcity of something that’s really overrated anyway. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the Sex Industry, the Religious Right, and Feministic women dangling their carrots of false promises of love and intimacy. They always leave you empty-handed.

Now you see why I am furious at the leaders of the Religious Right. They are not my friends. They are my enemies and the enemies of the “little guy” everywhere. They cozy up to power and affluence and would oppress others. They are not servants of Christ. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are false teachers. If you are religious, you should mark these people for what they are.

The rest of you may not profess Evangelical Christianity, but this affects you as well. Just like me, you have been pinned between two battering rams of thought in this society. Two sides of the same totalitarian coin. Right-wingers and liberals. They are both a sham. It’s time for men to stand up for ourselves and carve out our own destiny


Christian Women to Avoid

On the Internet I have found several discussions on the type of women men should avoid dating or marrying. One noteworthy list of personality types to avoid can be found at BusterB’s website, for example (see part 1 and part 2). I grant that personality lists are often too generalized and probably reflect the pop psychology found on talk radio, in fashion magazines, etc. Having said that, I have decided to go against my better judgement and come up with my own list with a religious twist.

When it comes to romance, Christian men face a somewhat peculiar set of circumstances due to the dynamic of faith involved. So, here, in no particular order, is my list of Christian women one should not date or marry. Keep in mind that you may find a woman that fits more than one category. It doesn’t matter, though. Strike one and she’s out …

The Prude

This one is self-explanatory. Perhaps she is not as common as in a previous age where taboos were more strict, but she is still out there. Avoid her. If talk of marriage comes up between you and a Christian woman, you and her will eventually have to deal with the Bogeyman (SEX).

How does she see sex? Evil? Defiling? Maybe not evil or defiling, but perhaps just a means to have children? A chore? Something she does merely in exchange for favors, as if bodily contact were a form of currency? Maybe she thinks sex is no more enjoyable than eating overcooked broccoli. Maybe she thinks it ought to be that way. No matter. Exit stage left, Romeo.

Telltale signs: Has positive things to say about romance, married life, etc. but has nothing positive to say about sex in general.

Scriptures: Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Solomon; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7


You are the stand-in to make her dreams happen. There are plenty of men she could have substituted for you, especially the ones that she always fantasizes about. It just so happens that your number was up and no one else better was available.

Ok, you are ready to provide one suburban house, two cars, and three kids, right? You know she found mention of those things right next to the verse in the Bible that says men are the “Providers.” Yep! Don’t deny her the sacraments by which she can be become one of the in-crowd at the big suburban church! What? You want her to love you for your character? Do you think it’s basically about companionship? Simpleton! Those are good things but it’s more than that, dontcha’ know. Her man must be ambitious! Must have dreams! What kind of dreams? Well, the kind that are consonant with white, middle-class, suburban values! Don’t you know she wants to be known as the wife of an affluent man who just also happens to be one of the elders of the local church?

But hey, you may actually want what she wants. Both of you are doomed to failure because your happiness is based on externals, though. You think if you check off a list of to-dos, you’ll both arrive spiritually; however, you’ll be miserable busting your tails to keep up with the Joneses at church. And then when you do “arrive,” you’ll feel empty because there is nothing left to look forward to. If you allow this woman in your life and she objectifies you as a success object, you’ll have no one but yourself to blame. Look at the old men in your congregation sitting next to their scowling, discontent, blue-haired wives. That’s your future, buddy.

Telltale signs: Confuses future tense with present tense (e.g., “I want a man who will teach our children [as if she assumes she’ll have children] …”). Also, there is a detectible change in her demeanor when you tell her your what your occupation is.

Scriptures: Luke 12:15; James 4:13-17; Hebrews 13:5

The Project

She’s made some stupid choices in her youth, especially passing up responsible (yet boring) guys like you for more exciting prospects. But now that she’s divorced, broke, has 2+ children, and/or has a body that doesn’t turn as many heads as it used to, she graciously says “hi” to you. Here’s your project, Mr. Fix-it. She has the problems; you are the solution. Make the pieces fit, if you can. Can you handle the baggage? The children? The ex-spouse? Oh, she’s “got religion,” all right. Does that mean she should get you as well? If she really likes you for who you are, why hasn’t she considered you up until now? A woman like this needs to learn to take responsibility for her own life before asking someone else to do so. If you pursue a relationship with her, do so with extreme caution.

Telltale signs: The woman in question is usually over thirty years old and often accompanied by small people that share her genes (but obviously not yours).

Scriptures: Galatians 6:7-8

The Warm-Fuzzy Pietist

She’s not deep into theology or actually figuring out what the Bible teaches. The word “exegesis” is about as meaningful to her as the word “triskaidekaphobia.” Religion is more of a “personal,” “experiential,” thing for her. Run from her. Sooner or later, she might think the Spirit led her to ignore Matthew 5:32 and dump you for the Bigger Better Deal.

Telltale signs: 1) She says, “I feel God is leading me to [do whatever seems pleasing to her at the moment] …” 2)Her eyes glaze over in Bible study. 3) She thinks you are legalistic when you draw the line in the sand against false doctrine and sin.

Scriptures: Matthew 7:21-27; James 1:22-25

The Pharisee

The extreme opposite of the Pietist. This chick can quote scriptures and actually put up an argument over doctrine. But she is backstabbing, controlling, hateful, derisive of other people’s weaknesses and struggles, and unconcerned about those less fortunate than her. Remember, even the devil can quote scriptures, and you might end up living with her.

Telltale signs: She sounds like she could written one of the articles for those “brotherhood” magazines that nobody reads except for the writers themselves.

Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Romans 12:9

The Crypto-Feminist

She’s not a bra-burning feminist, but …. But what? Who cares? If she says anything demeaning about men and/or plays the Sisterhood Victim Card then run.

Telltale signs: (1) She’ll show her colors early on when she gets you involved in a pseudo-intellectual discussion on the evils men have perpetuated against women. (2) She says, “I’m not a feminist, but …”

Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 11:8-9; 1 Peter 3:1-6

Xenia (Warrior Princess)

The warrior princess makes it known publicly that she strong, independent and doesn’t need a man in order to be happy (as if anyone was truly concerned about that). She has a mile-long list of qualifications for any man who dares to take her on. She won’t compromise. Period. Since “compromise” is not in her vocabulary, marriage would obviously be a great inconvenience to her. Don’t make her a martyr. Make her happy. Oblige her by running the other way. (Try not to snicker when she then complains about “not being able to find a good man.”)

Telltale signs: Don’t worry about the signs. She’ll let you know up front what kind of woman she is.

Scriptures: Proverbs 26:5; Matthew 7:2

The Lady from the Movie “Fatal Attraction”

Unfortunately, religion attracts some really unsavory types. Yes, the previous categories are not relationship material, but the women in this last category are positively dangerous. We are talking about serious emotional and mental problems, here. If you detect any screws loose in your beloved, realize that she does not need a relationship as much as she needs professional help.

Telltale signs: Disturbing anti-social or deviant behavior.

Scriptures: Do I really need to give you scriptures to keep you from getting yourself hacked to pieces?


If you manage to avoid these women, you will be happy or at, the very least, you will be less miserable than otherwise. Yes, I am aware that if you follow this list, you will probably eliminate 99.9% of the women in your church community from consideration for a long-term relationship. Come, my friend, sit with Solomon and declare:

“I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.

“‘Look,’ says the Teacher, ‘this is what I have discovered: Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things — while I was still searching but not finding — I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.'” (Ecclesiastes 7:26-28, NIV)


Does the Bible Compel Government to Legislate Morality?

Constantly I have heard Christians state something to effect that “government is supposed to enforce morality.” In other words, they assume that God expects political powers to force people to obey at least some parts of his law. That’s how I understand the argument anyway.

At face value, this idea certainly has some appeal to those of us who value the concept of integrity, responsibility, etc. But I still have a problem with it: it’s not really scriptural. I imagine that any critic reading this will reflexively parrot an array of passages from the Old Testament. The catch is that I am not under the Old Testament. Neither is any other faithful Christian (Hebrews 5:8-13). What about the New Testament? Romans 13:1-7, you say? Ok. Tell me specifically which “evildoers” in that passage are supposed to fall by the sword. You can’t and that’s the problem.

Over and over again, many Christians show themselves to be arbitrary in their understanding of how civil government relates to Christianity. Consider the problem of defining morality. Society at large usually has no problem with punishing thieves, murderers, rapists, and vandals. In a crude sense this represents the extent of most people’s moral sensibilities. The Religious Right, on the other hand, would add to the list of offenders the following: homosexuals, gamblers (unless your Bill Bennett), adulterers, prostitutes, porn users, drug users, and those who drink alcohol. That is the extent of morality for many fundamentalists. Beyond this, the Religious Right would not look to the government to impose particular tenets of a religious faith (and somehow, matters such as social justice and charity often get left off the list of “moral issues”). The problem is that the Scriptures do not look at “right” and “wrong” in this way.

With the Bible, there is no artificial delineation between “moral” laws to be imposed by the government and “religious” decrees to be imposed by the Church. That kind of differentiation is actually quite modern. On the other hand, for much of the history of Christendom, the Church and state were united in the minds of those who professed to be Christians. In a similar fashion, God’s law is also unified in its understanding of what “right” and “wrong” is. The cultist who teaches error on salvation is just as guilty before God as the thief (James 2:10). The “covetous” man is just as deserving of death as the murderer (Romans 1:29-32). But I have yet to see a social conservative ask for a covetous man to be hanged.

Obviously, I take issue with the way so many Christians pick and choose like a buffet which moral issues they expect to be codified into law. So does this mean that we should go back to a theocratic understanding of civil jurisprudence? There are some extremists (e.g., the Christian Reconstructionists) who want to do just that, using the Old Testament as a pattern for government (since the New Testament obviously doesn’t suit their purposes). Of course, Galatians 5:4 serves as a foil against those so inclined towards resurrecting the Old Covenant in any shape or form. So theocracy, whether it is full-blown or half-inflated, will not work.

Beyond this, I must ask which group would we consult when it comes time to defining morality for civil government? Many will say Christians. Of course, there is a lot of confusion in our society about who is a Christian. Do we follow the Catholics and outlaw contraceptives? No? Just the Protestants? Some Protestants like to drink. Okay, what about the Baptists, or maybe just the Churches of Christ? But divorce and remarriage is a moral issue. So which gospel preachers get to write the state laws on divorce?  Ones who allow remarriage for various reasons or ones who forbid remarriage altogether? If you think I’m being ridiculous, remember that many Christians think “morality” is the government’s business as mandated by God. So, I just want to know what is the logical end of such thinking.

The fact of the matter is that I have difficulty understanding how some institution maintained by secular people can bring about the righteousness of God. If the people have no faith, no amount of government sanctioned force will do any good. In fact, if conservatives concede that moral laxity leads to the expansion of government, and thus tyranny, why do so many of them do an about face and expect our government to peep in everybody’s bedroom? If a person is not conformed to the image of Christ, sodomy laws are not going to matter much, except as a profession of somebody’s creed (which may not represent everybody’s thinking). Likewise, if people do not have a true, Biblical understanding of the sanctity of life, police protection from violence is at best a precarious matter; just ask those who lived under Saddam Hussein.

Even if we concede that government serves some useful purpose in protecting society from actual threats (such as to person or property), how can we justify an expanded role of government in enforcing other moral matters such as sexual purity? Some may counter that sexual immorality is a “threat to our families.” But quite frankly, that threat is more metaphysical than material. Consumerism is a threat to our families, too, but I don’t hear calls for legislation on that. Indeed, on some issues of morality, we must concede it is merely our religious sensibilities that are being threatened. Asking government to protect me from having my religious sensibilities assaulted is not sound jurisprudence, it’s political correctness.

The bottom line is that Christians need to start looking again to Jesus to save the souls of people, not to politicians. I have often found many people who run for office and claim to stand for “family values” or issues “that matter to people of faith” are often hypocritical and ignorant of what the Bible really teaches. I’m not voting for them anymore than I would vote for a “secular” person. Why? Because they present a distorted picture of spirituality. They profane what is sacred.

Readers, morality is equal to religion. Why? Because in the eyes of God, you are “moral” only to the extent that you obey the dictates of the religion he established. Therefore, I do not think I do violence to James when I say: Pure and undefiled morality is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (see James 1:27 NKJV). Let’s start keeping ourselves unspotted instead of expecting the government to keep people partially unspotted.


On Politics (Verbum Ipsum Is Not Far from the Truth)

Well, someone may have beaten me to the punch in putting forth a summary of a sound political philosophy with a theological bent. I found a thought-provoking post over at the Verbum Ipsum blog. The author of the post is, I take it, not as anti-statist as I am, but one zinger jumped out at me:

“Against postmillennialists of the Right and liberationists of the Left I take it as axiomatic that nothing we can do will bring in God’s Kingdom. Politics is not a means by which we build the Kingdom of God on earth. It is a strictly this-worldly affair whose aim is to secure the conditions of tolerable earthly existence during this age.

“For Christians at least, politics can never be the locus of one’s final allegiance or the bearer of one’s identity. They are first and foremost citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, and their commitment to any earthly kingdom will be penultimate at best. This results in the ‘desacralization’ of politics and a sober realism about what it can and can’t achieve. No regime, political system, cause, or candidate is above criticism or immune to the effects of sin. As Solzhenitsyn pointed out, the line between good and evil runs through every human heart.”

Bingo. I gave one golden star to Verbum Ipsum for posting this and a silver star for linking to the Mutualist Blog. And, um, I will overlook the link on the blog’s page to Hugo Schwyzer. Now, now, hold on my dear fans. I know you are shocked, but I must concede that Hugo has treated me rather cordially in comparison to some of his followers. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, click here. For now, I will hold my peace, and perhaps skewer one of Hugo’s feministic posts another day. 😀


Save Larry Summers – Censure Albert Mohler

Many are familiar with the controversy that surrounds Harvard president Larry Summers. I refer, of course, to his comments about innate differences between women and men, an explanation he has offered for the current shortage of women in science and technology-related fields. Several in the Harvard community and at large have asked for Summers’ head on a plate.

Many are also familiar with the controversy that surrounds Ward Churchill, a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has compared 9/11 victims to “little Eichmanns.” Needless to say, many people are incensed at his views, but especially cultural conservatives. In this case, the call for having someone’s head on a plate has also gone forth.

For now, I will suspend judgment pro or con regarding these men. You see, for all the news coverage these two men have garnered for their controversial views, there is one academic who I think should get as much censure, if not more, than these men: Albert Mohler.

You may asking yourself just who is Albert Mohler. He is none other than the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Why, as a religious man, am I annoyed with him? Simple. Last year, the man gave a speech entitled “The Mystery of Marriage” in which he insisted single people putting off marriage were sinning. He especially targeted men with his comments.

I wish I could say that Albert Mohler was alone in his attack against single people, but anti-single bigotry has long been an unfortunate part of the Evangelical community. None other than James Dobson has for some time insinuated that single men are unfocused and selfish:

“Of equal concern is the impact of lifelong singleness on men. Social commentator George Gilder made it clear in his classic book, Men and Marriage, that men who accept the responsibility for a family are often motivated in ways that benefit the entire society. They typically channel their sexual energies to produce growth, creativity, frugality, sacrifice and protection for those who depend on them. In the absence of exclusive and committed marriage, however, their masculine aggressiveness and sexual appetites are inclined toward short-term pleasure-seeking, anti-social behavior, and selfishness. This is particularly true when faith in Jesus Christ is missing.” (Source: “Can Marriage Survive in the New Millennium?”)

And sad to say, Albert Mohler’s fanatical extremism has been picked up by other influential religious pundits.

I shared a related essay by Albert Mohler with some fellow Men’s Right Activists. At the time I was unaware that it was essentially a recap of Mohler’s speech; just the same, the response of my fellow MRAs was interesting. One fellow pointed out the irony of how church leaders have demonized sex for centuries, only to now change the message because they’ve found themselves too successful. Another man coined the term “Estrogelicals” as an amusing, but apropos, description of conservative religionists who have taken up the popular sport of male-bashing and pandering to women.

Yet, Mohler’s thoughts have also caused quite a stir among the Evangelical community at large. Mohler, like any public figure caught with his pants down, has predictably tried to clarify what he meant in a followup essay. He states:

“Singleness is not a sin, but deliberate singleness on the part of those who know they have not been given the gift of celibacy is, at best, a neglect of a Christian responsibility. The problem may be simple sloth, personal immaturity, a fear of commitment, or an unbalanced priority given to work and profession. On the part of men, it may also take the shape of a refusal to grow up and take the lead in courtship. There are countless Christian women who are prayerfully waiting for Christian men to grow up and take the lead. What are these guys waiting for?”

“Given this commitment and hope as articulated by these thoughtful young women, it should be clear that when I spoke of a pattern of sin in the delay of marriage, I was certainly not attributing that sin to them. To the contrary, as one who believes wholeheartedly in the biblical pattern of complementarity and in the male responsibility to lead, I charge young men with far greater responsibility for this failure. The extension of a ‘boy culture’ into the twenties and thirties, along with a sense of uncertainty about the true nature of male leadership has led many young men to focus on career, friends, sports, and any number of other satisfactions when they should be preparing themselves for marriage and taking responsibility to grow up, be the man, and show God’s glory as husband and father.”

“I stand by my argument–renewed in this conviction even by the controversy that has followed. At the same time, I’m going to be a good bit more careful to make clear that young men must accept most of the blame for this situation. I will also remind these young men that, armed with a biblical mandate and fueled by Christian passion, they can also be the vanguard for recovery.”

It is apparent that even in Mohler’s clarification, he has decided to stick to his bazookas. I am glad some have still called him on the carpet, however. As a case point, I invite all to read Michael Spencer’s response to Mohler’s diatribe.

Dear readers, I am not going to mince words here:

1. Mohler’ doctrine plainly contradicts the Apostle Paul. Paul said : “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I” (1 Corinthians 7:8, KJV). He further said: “He this is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33, KJV) .

Paul didn’t say, “Ok, guys, you might have the gift to be single, but don’t enjoy it too much, or else you are selfish and don’t really have the gift! You know only a few people have this gift, so be very careful about singleness. Really, what I’m saying is this … that you shouldn’t be allowed to choose singleness just because you like being single. God doesn’t leave it up to you, doncha’ know. God will decide this matter, and you will just happen to know about His decision through .. yep, you guessed it … the wise, extra-Biblical counsel of your religious leaders! Hey … you, buddy … over there! You don’t look the single type. Get married or you’ll go to hell!!!”

Seriously, I could say much more on how Mohler’s doctrine is perversion of what the Word of God teaches, but I’ll let it go at that.

2. Self-respecting Bible-believing single men should denounce Mohler’s irresponsible remarks with every degree of righteous indignation. Religious pundits like him are always telling us that God expects men “to lead.” In what? Making the first moves in dating, courtship, and/or engagement? Where is that nonsense taught in the New Testament, the spiritual law under which Christians live (Hebrews 8:1-13)?

Mohler dutifully trudges down the same path that so many other political and social pundits have taken. Whenever there is some problem that concerns the sexes in particular, men are automatically blamed for something they did or failed to do. Mohler blames men for the plight of so many single Christian women not being able to find a husband. He never bothers to consider how Christian women may themselves need to share in the blame. Do many Christian women in today’s society really reflect the model of womanhood in Proverbs 31 that so many religious leaders talk about? Everywhere I look, I see religious women who are materialistic, demanding, irrational, unable to compromise, critical, Pharisaical, and spiritually shallow.

Moreover, while many so-called “traditional” women may not be bra-burning feminists, their attitudes often betray the larger culture’s insistence that women are perpetual victims who are entitled to every advantage in life, even at the expense of men. Many of them want to have their cake and eat, too. They want to having fulfilling careers and compete with men. Yet they also insist that their future husbands have a higher income than them, and be able to support their choice to stay at home if they are so inclined. It never occurs to these women that between their choosiness and a tough job market, that they are pricing their potential mates right out of the picture. So, who wants marry any of these women, no matter how many Scriptures she can quote? Alas, as a man once sagely observed: “Women have choices, men have responsibilities.”

But I hazard getting off-topic here. My main point is that Mohler committed a grave faux pas and he needs to have his feet held to the fire over it. I think a few incensed religious men need to write some letters or make a few phone calls to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Perhaps the Trustees and any existing alumni association should be brought into the action. Mohler needs to apologize unconditionally to single men everywhere. And he if doesn’t do this, then he needs to step down from his position. Period. Let all Israel hear of it and be afraid.