by Rod D. Martin
May 25, 2015
David Murrow writes this startling and too-true piece, “Why Prominent Christian Men are Abandoning the Local Church,” and I was going to blog about it anyway, because it is a very real problem with significant implications both for the Christian leaders discussed and for the failings of the American church broadly and of the specific churches being abandoned.
But I posted it on Facebook first. And imagine my surprise to have several good and well-intentioned men immediately tell me that the aforementioned leaders have no right to forsake the body.
And of course, they kind of made my point. When you have to resort to “because I said so” or “because I’m the authority” to win an argument, you’ve already lost it. That’s where a lot of men are today with the church.
The church has authority, but it also has a duty to reach the lost and disciple them. To disciple them means to teach them how to live their lives in conformity to God’s will, and if their lives deviate significantly from the norm — for example, by involving greater levels of responsibility than most, or by grappling with more complex questions than today’s average local pastor can answer — the church is supposed to be able to deal with that, somehow. Certainly in previous ages it did so quite successfully: for example, many of the brilliant political philosophers who birthed the American Revolution were pastors. And of course, as I’ve written often before, men as a group don’t want to sit around listening to platitudes and singing Kum Ba Yah: they want to do something, something that matters, and they want to get to it right now. The church is supposed to give leadership there too, and not exclusively regarding the Great Commission.
If our churches are failing in that, perhaps we ought to look less at those we’re failing and more at those who are failing them. But we can’t really ever have that discussion if our first reaction is to cut off debate. If a woman is being terrorized by her wicked abusive husband, we generally should not start with a lecture on her duty to submit.