Modern Praise Songs & The Feminization of the Church

New-City-Church-Phoenix-Worship-Team-e1309470752111This is the white elephant no-one in the church wants to talk about. We have capitulated to so much of the pressure from the egalitarian culture in which we find ourselves. To talk about anything feminine in negative terms is anathema.

However, as biblical Christians (men and women), we do not have the luxury of avoiding issues about which the Word of God speaks loud and clear and demands that we do the same. So, I will join others before me and bite the bullet.
Here I will just point out one major way through which we see the feminisation of the church worldwide but especially in the West – and that’s the area of music. We need a lot of help here.
On this one author wrote:
Music in the local church fits the tastes and sensibilities of women and children. Children’s songs about Jesus always present His gentle side. I learned this song before I was three years old:
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
Such songs are appropriate for children, but many people carry a picture of sweet, passive, sleeping Jesus their entire lives. Some boys never recover from this image. To balance this impression, the church used to allow aggressive, warlike images of Jesus as well. In 1865 English com-poser Sabine Baring-Gould wrote this song as a children’s march:
image1Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, see His banners go!
But by the turn of the twentieth century, hymns had taken a decisive move toward the feminine. In 1913, C. Austin Miles wrote “In the Garden.” Notice the difference in tone:
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
Colorful-Garden-Flowers
“Onward, Christian Soldiers” is passé in most congregations, but “In the Garden” is still widely sung. Christ has put down His sword and picked up a daisy. He is no longer a warrior; He is a lover. The very image of Christ taking up arms (as He does in Revelation 19) is simply unacceptable in a lot of churches today.
Praise music has accelerated this trend. Not only are the lyrics of many of these songs quite romantic, but they have the same breathless feel as top forty love songs.
 “Hold me close, let your love surround me. Bring me near, draw me to your side.”
“I’m desperate for you, I’m lost without you.”
“Let my words be few. Jesus I am so in love with you.”
“You’re altogether lovely . . . altogether wonderful to me.”
“Oh Lord, you’re beautiful. Your face is all I seek.”
“You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song.”
oh-lord-youre-beautiful-1-728Think of the mental gymnastics that must take place inside a man’s subconscious mind as he sings lyrics like these. He’s trying to express his love to Jesus, a man who lives today, using words no man would dare say to another, set to music that sounds like the love songs his wife listens to in the car. (By the way, men never call each other beautiful, lovely, or wonderful.)
I think this is why women generally enjoy praise music more than men do. Lyrically and stylistically, praise music resonates with a woman’s heart. Men can and do enjoy praise music, but it’s an acquired taste.
We can’t go back to “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” But no one has composed masculine praise songs to take its place. Songwriters, please fashion some songs that speak of battle, strength, and victory. Imagine Christ as our Commander, Coach, or Scout, not our Boyfriend. If you need inspiration, look to the Psalms. It’s time to balance Christ the Lover with Christ the Warrior again. The men are depending on you.
Murrow, David (2011-10-31). Why Men Hate Going to Church (pp. 137-140). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I can’t really say it any better than that – except to say in the spirit of Revelation 2:29: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Leadership is Male

Leadership-is-Male_David-PawsonI know that this is a very controversial subject especially in our day. In the church as well as outside the church, we are seeing the weakening if not the demise of male leadership. Since the women liberation movement, many men have given up their territory and conceded defeat as the culture has pressed in on them to take the back seat in the name of gender equality. The results have been less than impressive: the disappearance of strong male headed households; the disappearance of faithful churches led by males; the lowering of societal moral standards – and more.

Many respectable and godly women agree. Read what Elizabeth Elliot writes in a foreword to a book on this subject:

The issue of so-called equality of men and women touches the very foundation of Christian faith, for it goes deep into the nature of God and the great mystery of which the much-maligned apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians. For years I have watched with increasing dismay the destruction the feminist movement has wrought in the world, in the church, in Christian homes and marriages, and in personalities. I have studied the tortuous arguments of those who would persuade us that Galatians 3: 28 cancels everything the author says elsewhere in his epistles about the vital distinctions between men and women. I have listened to the endless discussions of Paul’s rabbinical prejudice and cultural insularity. I have delved into treatises on the meaning of the Greek word hypotasso, (‘ to arrange under’, ‘to be under obedience’, ‘to put under’, ‘to subdue unto’, ‘to subject to’, ‘to be in subjection to’, ‘to submit self unto’), and I have on a few occasions been asked (as a ‘traditionalist’, whatever that means) to debate those who would rewrite history, literature, psychology and the Bible itself to make them palatable to the woman of the late twentieth century. I have done practically everything but jump up and down and scream about it.  Continue reading