“Are you not entertained?” shouts Maximus Decimus Meridius in the Ridley Scott classic, Gladiator.
It ranks in my top 3 favorite revenge movies, along with Braveheart and Taken. All three of these movies often get lumped into the category of “dude movies.” When men want to have a guys’ night, they watch a movie like these.
And why is that?
Well, these movies are testosterone fests. Action. Suspense. Revenge. Every one of the three films i named above is about someone getting vengeance. Men enjoy these kinds of movies because it speaks to the man inside of them. The man that would do anything to protect the ones he loves.
But with that in mind, what does the average church do in America these days? It screams, “Are you not entertained?”
And men’s answer, by and large, is, “Not at all.”
Now i’m not here saying that church should be entertaining. But what i am saying is that when we treat God–the greatest being in the history of existence who created existence as we know it–like He is a teenage girl infatuated with a boy, we only speak to the women in our congregations, and even then we do so unbiblically and poorly.
In Romans 12:19b, Paul reminds us of an Old Testament Scripture:
For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.
The fact that this verse is quoted in the New Testament should forever put to death the possibility that the God of the Old Testament was violent and vengeful while the God of the New Testament is loving and kind. It’s the same God. His love is present in the Old Testament just as much as His wrath is present in the New Testament.
Unfortunately, though, the majority of American evangelicals are practical Marcionites in their understanding of Scripture and their public worship of God. We have lost sight of the fact that God is jealous. We have lost sight of the fact that God hates sin and sinners. We have lost sight of the fact that God loves His church and will not let anything happen to it. If someone harms His church, He in effect goes Liam Neeson on them and says, “I will find you, and I will kill you.” We forget this to our peril. The apostle Paul knew this truth firsthand, and it is why he was so amazed by God’s grace in sparing him.
The modern American church has emasculated God. And as such, it is no wonder that studies are showing that men are leaving the church. If we would sing about all of God’s attributes, and if pastors would preach about God’s wrath, then maybe there would be a change.
But they won’t because they’re too scared the women will leave, so instead songwriters will continue cranking out the same three chords with the same old talk about love as if God was some cosmic teenage girl madly in love with a stupid boy. (I pray that i am proved wrong here.)
The church, in its quest for “equality” has catered almost wholly to women and left men saying, “We’re not entertained.”
“Are you not entertained?”
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria