The need for Honorable Christian Manhood is great because the assaults on Honorable Christian Manhood are great.
THE HOLLYWOOD ASSAULT
Often if a character in a Hollywood movie is being chivalrous, it is sexually motivated rather than motivated by the noble quality of showing respect for the female gender. Hollywood has caused the continuous digression of true, honorable manhood and replaced it with caricatures of manhood. The prevailing mentality is that physical beauty in women and brute strength in men are what matter most. Chasing after and indulging in one’s sexual desires is elevated above self-control and delayed gratification. Indecency has replaced decency. Crudeness and rudeness are the norms rather than decorum and etiquette. Love has become something that is superficial and merely erotic. Any vestige of true, selfless, committed, and unconditional love is virtually non-existent. Why love someone and be tied down to them when you can “hook up” and leave the next morning?
The assault on Christian manhood has been led by the Hollywood industry as a whole. The overwhelming majority of both the film industry and the television industry have wreaked havoc on Christian men, and our homes and churches are mere reflections of what is being allowed into the hearts of our men.
THE MORAL ASSAULT
The pornography industry is one of the largest in the world. It is designed to appeal to the base desires of men. While God has designed men to enjoy sex, God has also designed marriage to be the field of sexual play. Any sexual activity outside of the marriage union is sinful, and therefore off limits for men. However, the porn industry continues to see its influence increase each year. Its tentacles extend into the movie industry, video gaming, magazines, and sports. Pornography is one of Satan’s primary means of deceiving men and destroying their lives personally, as well as their homes. Though the moral wickedness of our porn-crazed world should make any Christian man blush with shame, many instead grow red with hot, unbridled passionate desire.
Immorality is destroying manhood, and therefore destroying the Christian home. A man embracing pornography in his heart will not easily embrace his wife in his bed. A man who fantasizes about airbrushed women will fail to even daydream about his own wife. A man who seeks to find gratification in the allurements of another woman will not be intoxicated with his own wife's. His heart has been deceived by the Deceiver, and his marriage will be destroyed by the Destroyer.
THE CULTURAL ASSAULT
The cultural assault includes a perversion of what manhood even means. For instance, there is the “macho man” who is rough, tough, somewhat aloof, and not tied down to anything or anybody. He is often bulging with muscles, has a six-pack for abs, is roughly shaven, and wears “wife-beater” t-shirts around town. This man doesn’t have to work for a living, but rather finds ways to survive. This isn’t manhood, but a perverted fantasy.
There is also the perversion of “testosterone man.” This is the belief that real manhood means building and maintaining testosterone levels, which leads to more sexual escapades. He often has a bulked up physique as well as a bulked up sex drive. He has been taught that manhood has more to do with one’s sexual conquests rather than spiritual exercises; or with building one’s physical muscles rather than spiritual muscles; or with displays of power rather than displays of humility; or with amassing material possessions rather than gaining godliness. Again, this kind of “man” is a fantasy when compared to God’s ideal.
Sports is, by itself, a harmless entity. However, for modern America, sports has largely become an idolatrous pursuit. The athletes get paid millions of dollars to play their game, while the spectators fork out hundreds of dollars to attend a game and support their favorite teams. Sports stars are idolized for their skill, their bravado, and their power. But many male sports stars exhibit the kind of behavior, both in and out of the game, that is dishonorable, even from a secular point of view. With these kinds of models, it is no wonder that our young men are espousing their language, their mannerisms, their swagger, and their lack of integrity.
The 21st century has exploded with technological advances. For many men, having a cell phone, or tablet, or laptop computer is indispensable. Technological devices are certainly amazing, and continue to advance at the speed of sound (so it seems). Yet with all of these new devices come new opportunities to be assaulted by worldly pursuits and new opportunities to fulfill our fleshly desires.
Men can become techno-junkies, always being connected to the world or to work, while simultaneously being disconnected from their families. Technological devices have become the portable portals into a fantasy world, and the escape mechanism for men, even while sitting in the comfort of their own homes. While technology is a blessing, it is also something that must be carefully guarded against for its potential dangers.
Before you get your feathers ruffled, let me explain what I mean by this. There is within the general religious world (broadly speaking) a dearth of clear, biblical teaching of what manhood means. The adage, “more is caught than taught” has come into play in the church when it comes to training the next generation of men to live honorably before the Lord.
On one side, there are the churches whose men are merely puppets of their wives. They fail to take any kind of leadership at all. They fail to live humbly before others and they fail to live any kind of holy life. Those men are failures when it comes to living honorable Christian lives, if those men are even Christian at all. Their sons “catch” more from watching their emasculated fathers than they listen to what their fathers may actually say to them. Because of this, many sons grow up into dishonorable men in a variety of ways.
On another side are those men within churches who have perverted the biblical call for leadership and made it into a proud dictatorship, domineering over women and treating them like dirt, all under the false teaching of biblical passages and principles. They fail to exhibit biblical leadership. They fail to live humbly before God and others. Their supposed holiness is mere externalism. Those men are also sorry examples of biblical manhood. As a result, their sons will also “catch” this mean-spirited manhood and grow up into dishonorable men themselves.
The church has failed, by and large, when it comes to both modeling and teaching what it means to be an honorable Christian man. Our young men are taught by the examples of their fathers to treat young ladies in unbiblical ways. Many church leaders fall into immorality with women in the church and cause great damage to the church and the testimony of Christ.
Fathers, brothers, uncles, pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and other male leaders need to understand that when they are put into spiritual positions of authority, there is a responsibility that goes with that. There is an expectation, not of perfection, but of humble submission to God and His Word, including in this area of treating women. Women are not to be gawked at, ruled over, dominated, or demeaned. They are to be treated with dignity, honor, chivalry, decorum, kindness, and respect. Fathers must take up the helm in this regard and teach their sons the biblical ideas of manhood, particularly as it pertains to the treatment of women.
The assault on manhood is real and multi-faceted. It cannot be ignored or shoved aside. It is an assault that will never go away but will in fact increase as time progresses until our Lord returns. Until He comes, we are left on this earth with the task of cultivating honorable Christian manhood. By God’s grace, we must not become entangled in the debilitating and destructive webs of pornography, lust, greed, laziness, and selfish pride. We must not isolate ourselves from others around us, nor refuse to be accountable to church leadership for fear of having to change our selfish habits.