by Tyler Thayer
It usually goes without question that Christians pray. In A Call to Prayer, J.C Ryle says that if you are Christian it is “absolutely needful” for a you to pray. He says that without praying one can not even be saved, for he has not asked for it. Ryle points out that Christians pray at least once in their life, so the questions left are do you continue to pray and how do you pray?
As men, should we not “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It is true that the same basic principles of prayer apply to women also, but in the context of Manspeak, this is a conversation about men. Further, the question begins to gain distinction when we look at it through the lenses of biblical masculinity. Who should it be that starts prayer when sitting down for lunch or dinner, when a group comes together to enjoy fellowship, when there is need, or how about when there is simply a sense of thanksgiving? In family life, the role of servant leader falls upon the husband, and thus he will be held accountable for the prayer life of his family. Should not young Christian men follow suit and prep for leading a family?
In Acts 12:5 Luke writes, “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” The early church was full of faith for the role that prayer plays in the Christian life. So much that it is described as “earnest” (Merriam-Webster 1 : a serious and intent mental state 2 : a considerable or impressive degree or amount). They were working hard at prayer.
Is our generation of young Christian men praying earnestly? I’m not so sure we value it as much as we used to, and it could very well be part of the faulty foundation that is causing so many broken households. So where is the prayer? Why is our generation not praying so hard that we grow weak from the serious contemplation?
by Tyler Thayer
Over a month ago, in my post Assurance through Experience, I told you that I would be doing a series of posts that will dig down to get at our souls. Now that VQ is over, I feel like it is time to make good on what I said I would do. But in order to do so more effectively I have given a name to the series: System Analysis. (Maybe I will get someone to make a special banner for this one, dunno) The goal of this series will be to analyze, scrutinize and bring to light what makes a man, a man. More specifically, though, I want to dive deeper than merely what our culture tells us a man is and explore the parts of the biblical, godly man.
A good friend of mine, who I greatly respect, has had a theory for the past year or so. Regularly, he will point out that sports have become religion in our culture, especially in America. He will compare the stadium to the sanctuary, the balls as relics, and the multitude of teams as gods. Each avid sports attendee will don the sacred robes that represent a team’s colors, and seek at all costs an opportunity to worship at the altar, the field. Now whether or not this describes you, I don’t know, but my friend would say that this describes the hearts of many men who love sports. But is it true?
Where’s the line? At what point does enjoying a sports game, whether competing or watching, become idol worship?
In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul challenges us by saying, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Many men love sports, and most men love to be competitive, but can we be competitive to the glory of God? Should men even be competitive? I think this is a very fair question to ask, because if we are called to be on guard and do all things to the glory of God, then shouldn’t we question the very thing that often causes us to curse, hate, and allow anger to fill our hearts?
Perhaps, though, if we love competivtiveness too much, we might become like this:
You can check out CJ Mahaney’s take on this subject in his sermon Don’t Waste Your Sports. If you have listened to this sermon, what were your thoughts?
by Justin Day
What makes one a man? Is it being able to tear down and rebuild the transmission of a 69 chevelle? Is it being able drink four cups of black coffee every morning? Is it never laying in a tanning bed?
At Vision Quest we played a very amusing game where we made fun of how most people view manliness (you know a game is a bad judge of manliness when I last longer than our pastor). But the one thing that got me thinking was that we never actually stated what manliness actually is, at least I don’t remember it being said.
So my question for those that are reading this is how should we define manliness? Or in other words, what makes one a man?
by Justin Day
In his epic work Proslogion St. Anselm of Canterbury argued that God was a necessary being and that he could show it. Anselm said that God, given his nature, must exist. His argument went as follows:
- It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (i.e., the greatest possible being that can be imagined).
- God exists as an idea in the mind.
- A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
- Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (i.e., a greatest possible being that does exist).
- But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)
- Therefore, God exists.
So what do you guys think? Does it show that God exists? Is it a trick of words?
by Tyler Thayer
Have you ever laughed at the differences between men and women? You should. On ManSpeak we often jest about the “realms of men” and the “realms of women.” But aside from cultural stereotypes, jokes, and the basic miscommunication between sexes, the Church debates about how significant gender roles are. Usually, people fall into one of two categories: egalitarianism or complementarianism.
Complementarianism bases its argument in Genesis 2, the creation story. In verse 18 God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Though verse 18 says that woman was made to be a “helper fit for him,” it does not state that woman has any less value or claim to the image of God than man does, and vise-versa. Instead, complementarianism holds that men and women are equal in value, because both their identities are found within the image of God (Genesis 1:27). In addition, their inheritance is equal, and both are sealed by the Spirit as a guarantee of their inheritance and transformed heart (2 Corinthians 1:22).
At the same time, complementarianism brings a distinction to the roles of men and women. Men and women are equal in image and value but distinct in role. Titus 2:1-6 teaches,
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.”
Scripture further teaches that the marriage between a man and woman should reflect the marriage between Christ and his bride, the Church.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
We at ManSpeak believe God sees us, men and women, as equal bearers of his image, yet the roles we take on in the church, family, and the world are distinct.
ManSpeak wants to know what your questions are. We want to know what questions are going through your mind on the subject of gender roles and complementarianism.
Challenge us…ask us anything that comes to mind when you think about this subject.
[This is not just for the guys, but all ladies who read the blog, what questions and/or doubts do you have?]
Filed under: Thought Initiative
by Justin Day
So you’re sitting there in English class waiting for class to start. Sitting there all by your lonesome, you just happen to hear a conversation taking place beside you. “Well that might be true for you,” he says, “but it’s not for me. There is no such thing as absolute truth.” Did you catch what was just said?
Our postmodern friend just said that it’s objectively true that there are no objective truths. Hmm…It seems like his argument is self-defeating. It cannot even keep its own standards. As Christians we can humbly disregard such nonsense as postmodern gibberish, but do we commit the same fallacy of holding a self-defeating belief?
Sola Scriptura, one of the main proclamations of the Reformation, teaches that all authority in forming doctrine is given (in totality) to Holy Scripture. We form and understand church doctrine by the Bible and the Bible alone.
My question is this, does the Bible teach that we should follow Sola Scriptura? If it does not, then Sola Scriptura is self-defeating because it does not meet its own standards. If it is not explicitly found in scripture, then we have formed this doctrine by reason, and have abandoned our “Bible alone” philosophy.
(1) Is Sola Scriptura self-defeating?
(2) If yes, does it matter? If no, where is it found in scripture?
Filed under: Thought Initiative
by Tyler Thayer
For the next month or so I have decided to pose questions to get at our souls. Many of the next few topics will hopefully help us men question our allegiance to Christ. It is good for us to discuss theology and culture; however, I strongly believe it is more important for us to think about our salvation and the roots of our desires. Philippians 2:12 calls us to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling.” Paul clarified that this salvation is from God, but that we must apply ourselves to it and do so with fear of God with trembling. So to begin, let’s think about our assurance.
Should assurance come through religious experience? Spiritual experience is often highly regarded within charismatic churches. Usually the experience manifests itself in one of the spiritual gifts as described in 1 Corinthians 12. On the other side, we have cessationists who don’t believe the gifts have continued. However, even cessationists will claim some sort of experience or feeling when speaking of salvation or assurance. Most Christians, no matter what their beliefs, will claim some sort of feeling or experience during their Christian journey, and rightly so. To say other wise would be saying that God is not active and not present. (And that is another topic.)
So the question at hand must be about the importance of experience in our faith. Should an experience with God the Father, Jesus, or the Spirit be the keystone of our Faith? Do you long for an experience with God, and if you don’t have it, do you question your salvation? Where do you go to find an experience? Does experience inform faith or should something else inform our assurance?
These should be essential questions to any Christian, where does your assurance come from?
Here is an article that presents at least one side of the argument on experience.