It is hardly a newsflash that we’ve been living through an era of upheaval in gender roles. Churches have been divided over the role of women in ministry. In “Young, Restless, Reformed” circles, a new generation is discovering Jonathan Edwards and “masculine Christianity” in one fell swoop. Weaned on romantic—even sentimental—images of a deity who seems to exist to ensure our emotional and psychic equilibrium, many younger Christians (especially men) are drawn to a robust vision of a loving and sovereign, holy and gracious, merciful and just, powerful and tender King. As David Murrow pointed out in Why Men Hate Going to Church(2004), men are tired of singing love songs to Jesus and don’t feel comfortable in a “safe environment” that caters to women, children, and older people. His critique is familiar to many: men don’t like “conformity, control, and ceremony,” so churches need to “adjust the thermostat” and orient their ministry toward giving men tasks (since they’re “doers”). Men don’t like to learn by instruction; they need object lessons and, most of all, to find ways to discover truth for themselves.
This week’s selections include Getting the Gospel Right by R.C. Sproul (paperback), Living for God’s Glory by Joel Beeke (eBook), and Dr. Sproul’s Loved by God teaching series (audio & video download).
I think the current “gospel-centered” movement is one of the best things to happen to the church in a long time. The push for more expository preaching that grounds every imperative in the indicatives of the gospel–this is important. For too long the Church has preached a gospel of moralism, of legalism, of do-it-yourself lite Christianity.
However, if there is one concern I have with the movement, I might say that there is a danger of a pendulum swing. As a reactive measure against the idea that you must work really hard to earn God’s love (a frustrating and often false gospel), it seems we are saying that obedience has no connection to your day-to-day walk with God. I’m not sure this is either helpful for biblical. Let me explain.