Thursday, December 18, 2014

Men Without Chests

C. S. Lewis wrote in his book The Abolition of Man:
And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. 
My greatest concern is that my generation and the one rising under us is retreating from the battle-lines with their tails tucked between their legs. Those who have been raised on a steady diet of: "The only absolute is: Thou Shalt Not Offend Anyone For Any Reason, Lest Thou Be Labelled Uncool By the World" seems to be all but silent on the key issues before us. It is disheartening to see the compromise on the issue of homosexuality, the indifference to the issue of abortion, and the lack of concern for sound doctrine. What has happened to manliness, conviction, courage, strength, and boldness? Men need to have messages. Men need to have something to say. Christian men need to have "chests." Lewis was a master wordsmith when it came to illustrating profound truths like this one. It is a bit frightening to note that Lewis penned these words in 1943 - right in the middle of World War II. He was speaking of "men without chests" back then. What image would he have used if he lived today?

We, the Christian church, have no one to thank but ourselves for the mess we see today. Our children have had relativism, evolutionism, scientism, atheism, and statism pumped into them for several generations now through the government school system. We actually thought we could offset that by sending our kids to youth-groups once a week and by taking them to church for an hour on Sunday mornings. And we are shocked that young people are not outraged by the wholesale murder of unborn children through abortion. They are undiscerning and easily deceived by church-growth gurus and hucksters. As long as the person looks cool, is popular, and is charismatic, they jump up and shout "amen!" no matter how unbiblical the doctrines they preach might be. We find them more offended by and concerned with the "tone" of people who condemn homosexuality than they are with the filth of the sin itself. God forbid someone stand up and condemn sexual perversion with any degree of pathos and vigor. Such are dismissed as unloving and even as un-Christlike. Such are the actions of men without chests. What are the young men of the rising generation going to do in the face of these clearly defined battle-lines: homosexuality, abortion, and the exclusive claims of the gospel of justification by faith alone? Sadly, it seems that most are blissfully unaware that such lines even exist. Such was the plan of the social engineers all along. They want to produce "men without chests" because such are easier to control and govern. They want to produce men who melt into puddles on the floor at the first sign of a debate or argument. They want men who have no guts, no conviction, no courage to stand their ground and fight for truth and righteousness.

And so I want to encourage parents and pastors everywhere: Labor to produce men with chests. Labor to produce Christian people of conviction and strength. You only have your precious children for a very short time. Speak to them about the battles of your day and encourage them to stand and fight armed with the Word of God, the gospel of Christ, and divine love. Pastors especially must recognize what J.C. Ryle wrote long ago: "The pulpit is the place where the chief victories of the Gospel have always been won." Every time you step up to your pulpit to address the people of God, remember that you are a leader. Remember that you are the mouthpiece of God during that moment. Remember that your text in God's Word is where the power of God is located. Remember that you must understand the times in which you live. Do not be content to feed people fluff because it "preaches good." Give them meat and solid food. Labor to produce men with chests who will be strong in the Lord and who will, in the power of God's might, change the world.