In yesterday's post, Ryan asked, "How would you describe masculine worship?"
It's difficult to describe what no longer exists, and what none of us has ever seen. In his essay "Ministers in Skirts," Doug Wilson briefly summarizes the complicated history of the feminization of the church since the days of the Industrial Revolution. There's been a complete sea-change, he says, in our understanding of sexuality, so much so that we retain virtually no memory of what life was like prior to that time. What God intended to be a compliment to masculine piety--feminine piety--has become in this post-Industrial Revolution, post-Enlightenment age the measure for what all true piety is. All our assumptions about godliness today are feminine. Masculine piety has been entirely, or almost entirely, lost. Whenever it does occasionally raise its head, we're completely flummoxed by it...
This is evident in the fact that today feeling is preferred over doctrine, sentiments are valued above objective statements of fact, emotions are trusted before arguments, experience is prized above knowledge, and protecting relationships is believed more important to God than defending His truth. For centuries the church was understood to be built upon a common faith (meaning shared doctrinal commitment), it has become in our day a community of shared emotive experience. All the danger has been removed. All the risk has been safely padded. There is no more battle, no more race, no more prize (winners and losers), no martyrs. Just a bunch of geldings and the women who keep them. The manly men stay home and watch football where there's still some vestiges of masculine glory left to be seen.
What does masculine worship look like? It starts with men realizing that God made them to fight, and argue, and defend, and teach, and provide, and discipline, and lead; that He meant them to do this "in the church!" And that, not only are these attributes okay, they are absolutely vital for the safety and well being of the flock. Men need to come to terms with these things, and then, by faith, start to live them out. If Christian men would conduct themselves like men, then worship wouldn't have a problem being masculine. We wouldn't continue to feed on trivial, sentimental, drivel. As men, we simply wouldn't stand for it.
But as it is, we're convinced today that to be godly is to emote, and cry, and swoon, and hedge, and flatter, and to be "nice" to everyone at all times no matter what. We live as if God is bound by love never judge anyone, as if His holiness was a touchy-feely, lovey-dovey, kissy-kissy kind of a thing, as if His wrath was something only proud religious legalists care about.
Masculine worship is worship where God's perfections are not apologized for. Where His holiness, justice, wrath, power, lovingkindness, patience, omniscience, anger, mercy, righteousness, and truth (etc.) all equally embrace. Where men take responsibility to lead in proper, reverent response to these attributes. Where souls are in jeopardy all the time, and wolves are a constant threat to their safety. Where Satan is real, and really an enemy. Where the praises of the Lord are robust and strong and pedagogical. Where you sing with the spirit, and with the mind also. Where the prayers are reverent, thoughtful, and full of God's own Words. Where the warnings ring clear, where the heart of man is desperately wicked, where the judgment seat is held out before you. Where the world is renounced. Where holiness is required. Where grace is not a program to improve your life, but a thing, without which, you are hopelessly lost and eternally damned. Where joy richly overflows at the thought of Christ's victory over sin and death. Where Jesus is not just a passive Lamb, but also a roaring Lion. I could go on...
Don't make the mistake of thinking that masculine worship is a bunch of men getting together to roar and grunt and roast animal carcasses on spits to the glory of God. Masculine worship is worship where men are humble enough to to lay down their lives for their King and the souls under their charge. Which is not to be confused with the present situation in which we make a principle out of rolling over to play dead.