[An archived post on work and ministry for Labor Day.]
When I graduated law school my mentor at the firm I worked at was a woman. When I got on the bench and had been a judge for a while, I mentored a woman who joined the court. Gender qualifications were meaningless both times.
Gavin Peacock at the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood argues differently.
In the 1980s as a young Christian and professional footballer (that’s soccer to the uninformed!) I saw older players mentoring younger ones. One experienced star player took an interest in me. He encouraged and corrected my game, and he developed my character.
One of the great needs in the church today is for men to mentor other men in the things of God—a distinctly masculine mentoring in the face of a culture that does not value manhood. God designs the church to grow under the protection and provision of biblical men. But they will not simply appear. Men of God must cultivate men of God.
Mr. Peacock’s call for mentoring is fine. His call for masculine mentoring is hogwash. It’s apparent in the aspects of mentoring he argues are essential:
- Teaching and Testing
- Character and Example
- Wisdom and Patience
None of these are specifically masculine. The Bible shows women and men both being present in people’s lives, teaching, giving good examples, as well as being wise and patient.
Mr. Peacock then specifies two goals of mentoring: maturity and holiness. He insists that these are required in men so that the church does not suffer:
The need for masculine mentorship is desperate because a dearth of men is the death of a local church and the family. Men were made to take initiative and cultivate life and godliness in those under their care.
True manhood is cruciform loving leadership, like the true man, Jesus: who took initiative for God’s glory, and despite the shame, overcame sin, Satan, and death on the cross, rising again to give life and redeem masculinity itself.
This conclusion is the most troubling. He speaks of true manhood as being an emulation of Christ. Where does this leave women? It apparently leaves them not needing to grow in Christ’s likeness in those areas Mr. Peacock identifies as specifically pertaining to “redeemed masculinity”.
This leads to the astonishing conclusion (astonishing to anyone who has read the Bible) that there are supposedly aspects of Christ’s life that are thus irrelevant to women because only men are to emulate Jesus in these “masculine” endeavors. I imagine CBMW would deny this by saying all of Jesus’ life is relevant to women, just not directly. They’d say the relevance reaches women but only through men.
The problem with that assertion is that the Bible nowhere says “Jesus died so that men can do this and women can do that.” It does say that Jesus sets everyone free from the limitations that came by sin. (Hebrews 9:15.)
Everyone means everyone, women and men. Free means free, so that none of us are bound by sin’s limitations.
So where did Mr. Peacock get the idea he can place limitations on what it means to grow in Christ?
I think it’s his lack of experience. He was in a profession made up exclusively of men in his sports career, and he is now in a ministry where women are never allowed to lead men. Mr. Peacock has a narrow understanding of the Bible because his experience in life has been narrow as well.
There’s a way to fix that.
He needs a woman to mentor him.
*My thanks to Kathi Bonham for bringing Mr. Peackock’s post to my attention.