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Is Jesus the True “Man’s Man”?

The answer to this question is, of course, yes. Jesus is the true “man’s man;” he is the model for how all men should live. But then again, Jesus is also the model for how all women should live. Jesus is the perfect image of God! Why, then, are some men hijacking Jesus to make him into the picture of gruff, John Wayne masculinity?

The recent issue of Christianity Today has a good article about some men who have attempted to make Jesus into the image of the perfect “wild at heart” wilderness man, a movement the author has dubbed a “new masculinity movement.” The new masculinity movement has mottos such as: “We’ve been beaten down; Feminized by the culture crowd; No more nice guy, timid and ashamed …Grab a sword, don’t be scared; Be a man, grow a pair!” The author quotes Mark Driscoll, whom I respect and seems like a man’s man, as saying: the church has produced “a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickified church boys. … Sixty percent of Christians are chicks…and the forty percent that are dudes are still sort of chicks.” Here is another extended quote for the article outlining Driscoll’s views:

Driscoll comes closest to imagining Jesus as the model of maleness when he argues that “latte-sipping Cabriolet drivers” do not represent biblical masculinity, because “real men”—like Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptist— are “dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes.” In other words, because Jesus is not a “limp-wristed, dress-wearing hippie,” the men created in his image are not sissified church boys; they are aggressive, assertive, and nonverbal.

I have to admit…part of me likes this, but most of me is a little disturbed by this.

Don’t get me wrong, I like being a man. Perhaps the church has catered too much to women. And let me be clear, Jesus was/is a man! Although the Bible doesn’t speak to directly to male / female personality traits, I’m sure he had more typical male characteristics than female characteristics. Jesus was a guy!

But more than being a “man’s man,” Jesus was/is the perfect image of God. And when the Bible tells us (all people, men and women) to be conformed to the image of God, the Bible speaks of things like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). To be conformed to the image of God means to get rid of anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language (Colossians 3:8).

Unfortunately, if you paint this picture to some people in the “new men’s movement” you will be criticized for falling into the feminization of the church. My response, “no, I’m trying to fall into the biblicalization of the church!”

Men are men and women are women. Praise God for the differences!! Let us never blur this God created distinction. But when it comes to being a follower of Jesus Christ, gender is not the primary issue (Galatians 3:28), conforming to the image of Christ is!

  1. April 20, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I would welcome an actual men’s movement in this world. A movement where men decided to be real men of God. It would be wonderful to see men once again claim their roles as priest, provider, protector.
    It seems to me that since our country decided to confuse what the founding fathers stated in the original constitution about religion and government our world has gotten way out of balance. Kids can have a day at school where the boy’s dress like girls and vice-versa, but we can’t let them pray.
    I don’t think the church caters to women but I do believe women have had to pick up alot of the slack due to the desire of men to fill their roles in the church. Check out an intorcessory prayer meeting. How many men as opposed to women show up?
    I am in no way bashing men. I am in no way a feminist. I had to make it a lot of years on my own as a single mom. Me and God. No support from Uriah’s dad. Even when we were married all the credit cards, house loans, billing info, etc., were in my name. Guess who got stuck with them, and paid off every last penny, me and God.
    I now have a man in my life that I will have no problem calling a “real man”. We’re partners in this thing called life. I love it and have no problem taking up the role as “help-mate”. It’s no problem submitting when you have a man who loves you as Christ loves the church.

  2. April 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I too like this real man named Jesus.

    I wish the “new masculinity movement” could instead become the “new bible memorization movement” – that would be much cooler.


  3. mike
    April 21, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I agree with your post, Brian. On a related topic, I have noticed as a parent that my girl loves church far more than my boys. The things that we do at church, sit and sing, are far more appealing to her. I’m not sure what or if we should do anything, but I wonder if the way we do church contributes as much as anything to attracting more women than men.

  4. April 21, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Let’s not be so smug as to simply dismiss the “new men’s movement” out of hand. While I agree that “the purpose of discipleship is not primarily to become fulfilled men or women, but rather to be transformed into the image of Christ.” Men and women are going to reflect that “image” differently, not better, but different. I believe that the modern church has emphasized the softer God, focusing on self-help and feel good rhertoric at the expense of the God that is powerful, passionate, and uncompromising. Maybe, these men’s groups have pushed the pendulum too far in the opposite direction and are using this as an excuse to be complete cads to women and men. Obviously this is sin and they should be called on it. But these groups are a natural reaction to what happens when we emphasis one side of God’s image over the other.

    Paul writes “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

    The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (I Corinthians 12:18-26)

  5. brianmcl
    April 22, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Was I being smug?

    I agree with everything you have said about gender differences and men and women imaging God in some different ways (although I’m not sure 1 Cor. 12 is primarily about this…it seems to be about service/giftedness/etc in the community of believers…).

    However, read Driscoll’s quote again: Was Jesus really a “heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dude”? Or, was Jesus a “heterosexual (we agree on this), turn the other cheek, pray for your enemies, be at peace with one another, confess your sins, consider others better than yourselves, be gentle, patient, and kind dude”? I think the latter. That’s not feminine, that’s our Lord.

  6. April 22, 2008 at 10:29 am

    You may be right about 1 Cor. 12, but I believe ultimately the overriding point is to warn against divisiveness.

    I think we are basically in agreement, but I think you are missing my point. It’s not that they (macho Jesus ministries) are right, it’s that they formed out of a perceived need that men are not be reached by many of the churches in our society. And the reason they are not being reached is because in too many cases they are being asked to model Christ from a female perspective.

    The Bible is clear as to the role of men in the church and in the family. It is, as carolann stated, as priest, provider, protector. If we as a church can teach men to take those roles seriously, then praise God, we’d have a real men’s movement on our hands.

    So let the guys go howl at the moon, burp, spit and whatever. As long as they are being taught to “Love God and Love Others” more power to ’em.

  7. Parishioner
    May 8, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    “As long as they are being taught to love God and love others . . .”

    That’s pretty much the basis for the criticism of the movement. Too often, they’re not teaching love. Rude, unloving behavior is frequently being tauted as “masculine.” Acts of the sinful nature are just that. Sins should never be declared gender specific, either for attempts at condemnation OR for attempts at “sanitization.” Real men repent of their sinful behavior, and real men recognize love isn’t a hallmark sentiment.

    Many problematic movements (or even cults) are formed out perceived needs. They go into error without constantly adhering to Scripture. I’m with Sanchez.

  8. parishioner
    May 8, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Oops. Just realized typed “tauted” instead of “touted.”

    Rude, unloving behavior is frequently touted as “masculine.”

  9. Pastor Bob
    August 29, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    The stats speak for themselves. The western Christian Church is a place for women, not men. Men feel uncomfortable there, according to the stats. In the eastern Orthodox chuch, this is not the situation. If you men want a man’s church, try the eastern Orthodox church in America.

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