Over on CT, Ed Stetzer is starting a blog series titled “Act Like Men”. (First article: “What It Means To Fight”). This has predictably caused a bit of feedback from the egalitarian evangelical set, with Scot McKnight posting a response piece from Wheaton New Testament professor Lynn Cohick making the case that Paul’s appeal to “act like a man” (1 Cor 16:13) was directed to both men and women and “reveals the limitations of the Greek language” rather than “making a particular point about masculinity”.
I’m highly unqualified to comment on the Greek, but down in the comments on Stetzer’s post is a fantastic bit from Christopher T Casberg. I’ve got no idea who Mr. Casberg is, but his comment stands on its own (emphasis all mine):
I’m a Marine Corps veteran. I’ve got a sword above my bookshelf. I like rare steak, the rumble of an old Mustang, and American Ninja Warrior. I have fond memories of ramming a foam pugil stick into the belly of a much larger opponent and then knocking him senseless with a (confessedly unfair) blow to the head.
I also think the ongoing debate on manhood in Christian culture is ninety percent macho nonsense. I’m tired of hearing it. We’ve drawn cartoonish caricature of men that resembles Tim Allen more than it resembles Christ and made that our standard. Our leaders continuously imply that their likes and hobbies (MMA fights, fishing) aren’t personal idiosyncrasies but are what actually constitute Biblical manhood. That is ludicrous. I’ve spoken with young believers who are worried about their manhood because they’re not yet fathers or husbands, don’t own a gun, don’t have a “manly” vocation; in other words, our young men are worried that their lives don’t resemble a sitcom character’s. It does not follow.
We do need to ground our conversation in the Gospel, as Ed says. And we do have to allow that there’s Stuff Guys Like and Stuff Guys Do. We endanger our mission with the Gospel, however, when we conflate the two.
Being the man God intends is real simple. Do what he puts before you. Strive to do it well. Pass on what you learned. That’s it. You don’t have to convince yourself that everything is a fight (a word used over 20 times in this article, by the way). You don’t have to call prayer ‘battling Satan’ or worship a ‘call to arms.’ It’s just prayer. Just worship. Do it, do it well, and pass it on. True manliness emerges from obedience, not the other way around.
(The funny thing about Scripture is a woman would do everything Ed exhorts men to do and come out perfectly feminine. It’s not about replicating a certain portrait of your gender. It’s about doing what God asks you to do.)
Yes and amen.