By the hand of providence, I have a friend in Russia and a few in Scandinavia who are laboring for the gospel courageously.
Like the running salmon that draw fishermen from all over the world to that region, there are a few men swimming furiously against the swift current of a culture that is attempting to neuter the God-given hearts of men and women. The result is the recasting of male and female to be less like the attracting north and south poles of a magnet, and more like the ends of a rainbow holding an infinite number of gender permutations in between.
While many in the Scandinavian culture are celebrating the dismantling of its Biblical infrastructure, there are men stepping out to acknowledge the confusion and damage it is producing. I just returned from a trip to Norway where we were addressing the impact this cultural about-face has had on its men. Over a bowl of moose stew, one of my friends took the time to help me better understand the nature of the assault on sexual identity in Scandinavia. All Norwegian children are now being asked at the age of 6 years old to disregard the information they can find reliably between their legs, and choose whether they would rather be a boy or a girl. "Pornography" he shared "is used in the school's sex education classes." In an effort to make sure no citizen feels “different” the Norwegian government is legislating seven distinct groups of citizens based on sexual preferences. And to speed up the indoctrination process, schools are requiring attendance at the age of two.
When it began years ago, the battle cry for social change started with the just demand for equality between the sexes, but the war has evolved and is now being waged for "sameness".
"What do you want to be? A boy? Girl? Both? Neither? Something else? That's okay. You can be whatever you want." they are told.
And now those who hold fast to God's binary expression of himself through two, and only two, distinct genders are the ones being labeled "different".
"So what is normal?" and further, "Why is it being redefined?" I hate my conclusion, but I'll say it: Men screwed up. We (I will include myself) have forgotten who we are and what we were made for. Throughout human history men have mishandled their God-given strength to take advantage of women instead of respecting and protecting their God-bestowed weakness. And like a decent man who feels repentant after mistreating his wife will often fall into the internal battle of self contempt, so some cultures shamefully respond to this mistreatment by castrating its men and empowering its women.
God foresaw the knee-jerk reaction to our brokenness and offers the solution through the prophet Jeremiah, along with the people's response:
This is what the LORD says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ -Jeremiah 6:16
Let's explore the truth God offers on this divisive issue. And may it bring rest to our souls.
Males and females uniquely and gloriously reflect distinct yet complimentary aspects of God's nature which, when biblically joined into "one flesh", become a reflection of God's internal unity like nothing else on earth.
What feels essential to point out is that all of the visible pieces of the physically created world are somehow symbolic of a deeper, more eternal spiritual truth. This is precisely why a poet's art comes from his ability to see relationships between seemingly unrelated things. The master artist not only sees what others don't see, but they have the ability to help the blind see it as well. This is precisely what God, the Master Artist, is doing.
Man, woman, and the marriage covenant between them are all symbols. God created man to mirror that part of His nature which is committed to coming to the rescue, no matter the cost. It is why a man's deepest question is "Do I have what it takes?" and our greatest fear is that we don't. Christ and his sacrifice are the complete and perfect announcement of what masculinity is.
On the other hand, you could say that God saved the best for last, creating woman as the crown of his creation with nothing in existence more alluring, beautiful or complex. God created her to reflect that part of His nature which is wanting to be chosen and pursued. Her deepest question is "Will you choose me?" and her deepest pain is being unseen. The redeemed church and its absolute trust in Christ as Savior are God's announcement of what perfect femininity is. Though misunderstood and despised by the world, the faithful believing Church, with eyes fixed on Jesus as their Rescuer, is the recipient of Christ's perfect affection and rescue. The Church alone offers the only thing Christ wants in return for his fullest devotion: they offer themselves back to Him, and no other. This is the glory of a woman. This is true marriage.
Marriage between a man and a woman is God's symbol of what true love makes possible, evidence that a divine union is always greater than the sum of it's parts.
Like a Tsunami
Biblical masculinity and femininity are the two legs on which a culture moves, and their admiration for one another inspires works of art, beauty, sacrifice, love and ultimately new life. So it stands to reason that if you want to cripple a culture, take out its legs.
To be sure, these attacks on gender are occurring everywhere, but the tactics differ by region and culture, morphing as they move across the planet. Asian countries as a whole are missing 160 million women today because they've been killing or abandoning females for so long. Under Stalin an estimated 100 million Russian men were murdered, leaving each generation to the current one with an orphaned masculine identity. But murder is not necessary if you can incite a turf war between the sexes where they become determined to either bitterly defend or abandon their roles.
Either way, that society will fall.
Like a tsunami these assaults come to cultures under cover of darkness, dismantle their infrastructure of truth, and reduce them to self-destruction.
Scandinavia is not alone. A growing number of cultures are getting bent as they surrender their intellect on the uniqueness and importance of having only two distinct genders. If "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 1:7) what happens when we exchange the fear of God for the fear of man? Wisdom is exchanged for madness and we "exchange the truth of God for a lie."
I can't help but anticipate the pain from the Lord's judgement on this issue (Rom 1:18-32). With any reflection on the situation here in America it's plain to see that this is the exchange being made now. Transgendered citizens, like the confusing Bruce/Kaitlyn Jenner, are now embraced without question by the US military, who is willing to cover the cost of their surgery with our tax dollars.
A power is bent on importing this confusion to make it the new normal here at home. My trip to Scandinavia is like a trip into America’s confusing future.
Rescue is at Hand
Masculinity is a masterpiece, each man uniquely bearing it in his soul. In its unbroken state, it wields incredible power for the sake of good, taking outrageous risks as it embarks on any adventure and goes to any war required to keep its loved ones safe and protected.
If and when a man embraces his true God-given identity, he becomes an unstoppable force as fearless as Jesus. It is precisely because of that potential for good that a man draws fire from an enemy determined to keep the giant inside that man from waking up. To become dangerous for good is the divine purpose of manhood and the hope we have in hosting Boot Camps in the US or Base Camps in Norway. At these beautiful events, God offers rescue to each wounded man on the battlefield. Time and again we have witnessed Him carry men off the front lines, and in a single weekend begin the miraculous process of their recovery and adoption. Then, as the beloved son, a man will begin to see his way much more clearly to take his appointed place in the story of the ages. The advancement of the kingdom, as well as the future of the world, depend on the rescue and transformation of these lost men into sons.
World history is merely a cycle of the seasons and responses of cultures to being broken. There is only one Rescuer, but from His rescuing hand most of the world is running. The Father has kept his promise, made all provisions necessary, and is calling for some rebel leaders in all parts of the world to help lost sons find their way home. I have been privileged to see this Rescue first hand in the Northernmost tip of Europe where men are being strengthened, by God and one another, to become more and more the sons that their nations are groaning to see revealed (Romans 8:19).
We need to hit the shoreline, violent like an Arctic wave and bent on rescue.
In Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, the US. Everywhere.
Images From the 2016 Nordic Mens Base Camp