"Neither Boys Nor Men" — Our Calling in This Cultural Crisis

In a recent CNN article, William J. Bennet describes the pathetic situation of men in the United States.

Addressing the church, Darrin Patrick writes:

We live in a world full of males who have prolonged their adolescence. They are neither boys nor men. They live, suspended as it were, between childhood and adulthood, between growing up and being grown-ups. Let's call this kind of male Ban, a hybrid of both boy and man.

Ban is juvenile because there has been an entire niche created for him to live in the lusts of youth. The accompanying culture not only tolerates this behavior but encourages it and endorses it. (Consider magazines like Maxim or movies like Wedding Crashers.) This kind of male is everywhere, including the church and even, frighteningly, vocational ministry. . . .

In a culture where the influence of godly men is desperately needed, this void results in a legitimate cultural crisis. We are not going to solve it by ignoring Ban and hoping that he eventually grows up. We are not going to solve the problem simply telling women that they should take up the slack.

We might solve the problem by modeling biblical manhood and calling adult boys to forsake their youthful lusts and become the men that God is calling them to be in the context of the local church. This call should come from godly men and women sitting in the pews and, specifically, from the pulpit of God's church. The models should be men of God.

Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 9-12, paragraphing mine.

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their four children, and is the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary .