Sunday, February 24, was the Oscars, full of drama about who would win, who should win, what the winners would say, and of course, what they were wearing on the red carpet. This year, as Rachel Syme noted in The New Yorker, Billy Porter, one of the stars of the FX series, “Pose,”
“… managed to outdo himself yet again. He wore a ‘tuxedo gown’ … The top half of the outfit fit like a traditional men’s tuxedo, in plush black velvet, with oversized satin lapels; the bottom half, also an inky river of velvet, flared out into a massive bell skirt. His torso looked like it was smoking a cigar with a brandy, while his skirt looked like it was ready for a gothic Victorian-era coronation.”
When asked why he wore the gown, Porter said, “My goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up. To challenge expectations. What is masculinity? What does that mean?”
Porter isn’t the only one looking to buy a vowel. The American Psychological Association has decreed that “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful.” The forces of political correctness are seeking to throw out the idea of assigned sex at birth in favor of a spectrum of gender from which we can choose. And then there is Gillette’s Super Bowl ad, “We Believe: The Best Man Can Be,” which famously hit bottom and kept digging with 1.4 million dislikes to 775 thousand likes by both depicting a false image of masculinity and offering a flawed alternative for their false image.
And what do all of these trends have in common? They reject biblical wisdom and replace it with a vision of masculinity which is soft, silent, and impotent at the exact moment when the world needs men who are servant kings — men who are proactive, courageous and humble, men who take decisive action to serve their neighbors, families, churches, and communities, men who step out in bold obedience and trust in God’s Word.
The Bible is clear: “God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27).
Satan has been around since before the human race, so he is playing the long game. Separating God’s beloved children from Him is a marathon for Satan, not a sprint. His lies build on his lies until even people who love Jesus have assumptions they believe to be true that are not. His schemes last far longer than our short lifetimes. We seek passionately to avoid becoming pawns in his wicked game; therefore, we must understand his plans so that we can fight and defeat them.
Satan has been attacking gender, gender roles, and especially masculinity with a vengeance over the last few years, and even Christians have been deceived.
Satan’s scheme, now and forever, is to disrupt the two most foundational building blocks of society:
- Our relationship with God
- Our relationship with one another
First, there is something not right in us, and to make things right, we must throw ourselves on the grace of the Creator. A philosophical change that started centuries ago has spread across the world to convince people that there isn’t actually anything wrong with them and, if there is, it isn’t their fault. We are seeing Romans 1 play out before us now — not only are sin and perversity abounding, but people publicly commend those who live this way.
Second, there is nothing more foundational to who we are and how we relate to one another than the fact that God created us male and female. Humanity was created as two types — both are equally loved in God’s eyes and both will have equal status in heaven. However, their relation to one another on earth is defined through distinctive roles determined by God at the foundation of creation.
The two genders, male and female, are together the earthly representation of who God is. Neither, on its own, is a full representation. This is one reason marriage between a man and a woman is so important and meaningful. The truest representation of God’s nature is a healthy marriage between a fully masculine man and a fully feminine woman, each acting in submission to Christ and in submission to each other.
What is masculinity? The life of Jesus embodied true masculinity. It’s being a servant king. If you’re not serving others like Jesus, you’re not fully walking in biblical manhood.
***Adapted from Ken Harrison’s forthcoming book, Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man, coming to bookstores everywhere May 7, 2019, from Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC Copyright © 2019.
KEN HARRISON is the president and chairman of Promise Keepers. Founded in 1990 by coach Bill McCartney, Promise Keepers is a Christ-centered organization dedicated to introducing men to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, helping them to grow as Christians. Harrison also serves as CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that gives away over $1 million per week to build God’s Kingdom. After starting his career as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department in the notorious area known as South Central, Harrison spent nearly two decades in the commercial real estate arena both nationally and internationally. He has been married to his wife, Elliette, for 28 years and they have three children.
Harrison’s newest book, The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man, releases May 7, 2019.