From Boy to Man – Part Two – A Response to Albert Mohler

23 Oct

In part one of my response, I highlighted a few issues with Albert Mohler’s descriptions of manhood including his limitation of manhood to those who are married and have children.  In this second post, I will continue to examine his 13 points of maturity by responding to points 7-13.

7.  Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions.

Mohler says, “A real man knows how to make a decision and live with its consequences–even if that means that he must later acknowledge that he has learned by making a bad decision, and then by making the appropriate correction.”  There is a huge need in our society to teach our children autonomy.  Autonomy is the ability to make decisions and live with the consequences, and it is essential to being a man.

 8.  Worldview maturity sufficient to understand what is really important.

Mohler states, “He must learn how to defend biblical truth before his peers and in the public square, and he must acquire the ability to extend Christian thinking, based on biblical principles, to every arena of life.”  He clearly stresses the importance of intellectual apologetics which is based upon a Modern Worldview.  I do believe that men should acquire the ability to think theologically about many issues and how to apply them to their lives.  However, his use of the words “defense” and “public square” seems more like a call to conservative politics.

 9.  Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others.

Mohler states, “By nature, many boys are inwardly directed. While girls learn how to read emotional signals and connect, many boys lack the capacity to do so, and seemingly fail to understand the absence of these skills.”  I am not sure what “inwardly directed,” means, and I would like to see some support for this statement.  While I agree that males and females are different biologically and sometimes express different qualities, gender-based stereotypes and assumptions are not helpful for building up the body of Christ.

Both men and women can develop their Emotional Intelligence.  A strong sense of identity can equip you to understand and respect others without feeling threatened by them.

 10.  Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society.

Mohler states, “God has created human beings as social creatures, and even though our ultimate citizenship is in heaven, we must also fulfill our citizenship on earth.”  God did make us as social creatures, and the third developmental task of adulthood is for the emerging adult to establish a community.  Adults are not called to be independent, but interdependent.

 11.  Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.

Man praying“Here’s a striking phenomenon of our times–many adolescent boys and young men seem to communicate only through a series of guttural clicks, grunts, and inchoate language that can hardly be described as verbal.”  I am not sure what phenomenon Mohler is talking about.  While communication has changed through the years, I am not sure what he is referring too.  Many adolescents and young men are capable of speaking clearly when someone is actually listening.  I feel as if it is an age-based derogatory comment.

Mohler also adds that “Beyond the context of conversation, a boy must learn how to speak before larger groups, overcoming the natural intimidation and fear that comes from looking at a crowd, opening one’s mouth, and projecting words.”   I am not sure why public speaking is a requirement for manhood.  The check list is becoming longer and longer as I read it.  I am still hoping to qualify, but meeting his standards is overwhelming.

 12.  Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire.

“Parents should give close attention to their sons’ character, for if character is corrupt, nothing else will really matter.”  Character does matter, and I hope that my children will have the courage to stand up for what they value.  I don’t believe however that character is most evident in the spotlight (or on the battlefield).  I believe that it is most revealed in the quiet decisions made when no one else is looking.

 13.  Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church.

businessman Mohler states, “While God has appointed specific officers for his church–men who are specially gifted and publicly called–every man should fulfill some leadership responsibility within the life of the congregation.”  I don’t find that every man has the spiritual gift of leadership, nor is every man called to lead within the church by nature of their gender.  I do believe that God does call us to community as the Church, and I would encourage men to find a way to serve within the body rather than assuming that you are required to lead.

Mohler ends by stating, “Dads, you are absolutely crucial to the process of man-making. No one else can fulfill your responsibility, and no one else can match your opportunity for influence with your son.”  It is important to call men to fulfill their role as a father.

However, what do you say to the man who must find his way because his dad left him?  What do you say to the single mother who is struggling just to make it?  What do you say to the young man whose father passed away from cancer?

What hope do you leave these children?  What encouragement do you leave these mothers?  His statement is bleak.

While I believe in the power that fathers have on their children, I also believe that the body of Christ is big enough to adopt those who are fatherless, to care for the widows, and to guide young men into maturity who had no role models.

resolution list - CopyMohler has recreated  Proverbs 31 – Man’s Edition, a laundry checklist of values and performance-driven requirements that every man is doomed to fail due to our humanity.  Many men need empowered rather than beat over the head by their failures.

May God free you from your feelings of inadequacy?

May you step forward in confidence as who God has created and designed you to be.  Know that God’s grace and mercy can lead you in the midst of your failures to become the man He has called you to be.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.

2 Responses to “From Boy to Man – Part Two – A Response to Albert Mohler”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. From Boy to Man – A Response to Albert Mohler | More Than A Beard - October 23, 2014

    […] (For a critique of the second half of Mohler’s points, go here.) […]

  2. 5 Themes of Biblical Manhood | More Than A Beard - April 23, 2015

    […] and have children, they ostracize men.  I want to call Christian authors like Dennis Rainey and Albert Mohler to be more senstive to our brothers in […]

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