A reader writes by e-mail:
I’ve looked at many of the things that you, Dalrock, Cane, and a few others have written from the RP point of view, and I wonder have you ever addressed the subject of the differences between men and women and their level of devotion to Christ.
I ask because, and I could be wrong…it seems that in this age…the men (generally) are drawing more nigh to the Father and cleansing their hands of sinful things than most women are. Of course i don’t want to bear false witness against Christian women, but I’m often discouraged by what I see is a wholesale lack of conviction.
Now I realize that my approach to things as it concerns holiness may indeed be problematic, but even for women who declare themselves to be such…it just seems that very little has been bearing witness with my spirit…even among some family members…and I come from a very large so-called Christian family.
Yes and no. Some things stick out to me which I’ve commented on before on other blogs but not in posts.
First, the feminization of the Church is pretty obvious. The fact that most Church attendance slants around 55:45 to 60:40 women to men ratio or worse. This tends to give the illusion that women are “more spiritual” than men where we know this is not the case.
It could simply be that say 5% of the Christian men and 5% of women are righteous in their word and deed. This would be equal numbers. However, since there are only 40% of men (1 in 8) in the Church and 60% (1 in 12) of women this may lead to the biased thinking that more men then woman are serious about their faith.
Second, the commercialization of Christianity. I’m very wary of Christians selling books. I forgot the numbers specifically but the majority of “Christian book sales” are women. Somewhere around the number like 70-80%. This presents the false illusion that women are more spiritual than men as well.
Again, this can falsely distort a viewpoint in some cases. Those who read more are not necessarily more devoted to God. Many pastors would incorrectly assume that. However, there is a false dichotomy to thinking that because those pastors are wrong the opposite is true. More men tend to be spiritual because they focus their attention toward the Bible or other disciplines like prayer and fasting rather than spiritual books.
It’s always a good reminder to remember that we are told to evaluate based on fruit and not appearances.
Third, since men and women are different and have different roles and responsbilities and may be different parts of the body of Christ this may give illusions about level of devotion to Christ. There are all difference between the various aspects of the body of Christ: missionaries, serving food in a food kitchen, mentoring and discipling those younger than you, serving in the Church as an usher, elders, deacons, pastors, and evangelists.
It’s human thinking to believe that one position is better than another. We all do what we can for the body of Christ in our own way. A Titus 2 wife/woman is going to look different than a Titus 2 husband/man.
Fourth, I think that if you are reading my blog in the first place that we suffer from confirmation bias. Women who tend to be godly generally aren’t poking around on the manosphere or related blogs for the most part. That’s why most of the women who end up commenting tend to be trolls, or they are mentoring women of their own with their own blogs. Likewise, most men who find the manosphere as Christians tend to be strengthened in their faith and become more disciplined and devoted to Christ.
Fifth, Christians in general tend to get caught up in labels too much. If someone says they are a “Christian” but are willfully disobedient to the God are they truly a Christian? Of course, this can run into the slippery slope of no true Scotsman fallacy. Ultimately, we don’t know someone’s heart, but we can tell who is devoted to Christ not from appearances but from the fruit they produce. This is what I talked about in Dating, labels, and authority analysis. If you understand labels, why people want to label things, and how labels affect your perception you can start to move away from them.
For example, I’m a person who generally thinks liberal arts are useless… however, I need to be open to the fact that God can use a liberal arts major to reach those in the liberal arts for Jesus Christ. Our preferences for what we see as “devotion to Christ” need to be filtered through the gospel. I still think that liberal arts majors are setting themselves up for statistical failure in the job market, but that doesn’t mean that God has called a particular individual into that area.
Should I still warn them of the shortcomings? Sure. It’s possible that they can fail too. But “worldly” failure does not necessarily mean a failure of the individual or of the gospel of Jesus. This is one of the problems of the prosperity gospel in reverse — those that “fail” in worldly terms may still be devoted to Christ. He may use the failure to be teaching them principles that they will use to mentor people 30-40 years down the road.
Finally, I can’t look at a person’s situation and judge whether their heart is in the right place due to the circumstances around them unless it’s willful sin or the consequences of willful sin. Like it or not, choosing a liberal arts major is not a willful sin. Like it or not, choosing to participate in a pyramid scheme is not a willful sin. Unwise? Sure. God may teach them something through that even if they choose to do it through counsel otherwise. Or they may choose a destructive path for their life.
However, I can encourage them to put their heart in the right place, listen to wise counsel, and act righteously in any situation. The desire to love God should bubble over into being a slave for gospel of Jesus Christ and good works.