In a biblical perspective, manhood is defined in these roles and responsibilities ["the role of father/protector/provider"]. A man is defined in terms of who he is and what he does in obedience to God. A society that rejects or sidelines these roles and responsibilities -- that does not honor fatherhood and hold it out as expectation -- will sow seeds of disastrous confusion. The damage to our language is among the least of our problems.So Albert believes manhood is defined by the responsibilities of "father/protector/provider"? But wait, he makes a half-hearted concession that the "Bible clearly honors men who forfeit the blessings of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel" (albeit these men are, according to Albert, in the "minority"). Time for Logic 101. If a particular characteristic is essential to the definition of a class of entities, then no member of the class can be devoid of the essential characteristic. All strawberries may not be red, but all real ones are made of vegetable matter. If you give me a plastic strawberry with a refrigerator magnet on the back of it and tell me it's a "real strawberry" then I am going to chuckle. You were trying to be funny, right?
While the Bible clearly honors men who forfeit the blessings of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-28), the history of the Christian church indicates that these represent a minority. The normative expectation is that a young man will mature to take on the role of "father/protector/provider" that Peters correctly sees as "not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was" within the secular culture. Those men who are faithfully living out these responsibilities are not likely to be too concerned about finding true masculinity. They are living it.
So if manhood is defined by the role of "father/protector/provider" then one must assume this quality is essential to manhood (otherwise manhood could not be "defined" by it). Is this true? Let's pose a classical three-part syllogism:
1. Major premise: Manhood has the quality of being a "father/protector/provider" in the familial sense.
2. Minor premise: The Apostle Paul did not possess the quality of being a "father-protector-provider" in the familial sense.
3. Conclusion: The Apostle Paul did not possess manhood.
Did you see the foolishness of trying to make marriage and family essential to the definition of manhood? Look, I don't care about any counterargument that "biblical singleness is a rare gift." There is no middle ground here. Either marriage and family is a intrinsic part of manhood or it isn't.
At best, Albert Mohler and his compatriots must subordinate the role of "father/protector/provider" to some other essential component of manhood that would necessitate a lot of men being a "father/protector/provider." Albert says, "A man is defined in terms of who he is and what he does in obedience to God." Good point, but should most men get married as an act of obedience to God? If so, what part of God's revealed Word does Albert reference to support such an idea? Answer: None. He just mentions "the history of the Christian church" and "the normative expectation." If Albert's views have been so "normative" in "the history of the Christian church" I wonder what teaching Martin Luther had to oppose with respect to marriage and celibacy? The historical revisionism of so many Evangelical leaders is astounding. Do they not realize that appealing to church history and ecclesiastical tradition is a rusty, two-edge sword laced with tetanus?
And what about the role of "protector" and "provider"? Are we saying that women have no role in protecting and providing for their children? Or for their aging parents? That women have no role in providing for their husbands? When women of yore wrung the necks of chickens and shelled peas to put food on the table for their men, was there no "provision" in that? Was that all a mirage? What does "helpmeet" mean anyway? A resident motivational speaker that occasionally gives me sex and buys stuff from QVC with my paycheck? I've said it before. I'll say it again. 1 Tim. 5:8 is not gender-specific.
There's just too much stuff here ripe for the picking. Somebody get me some mason jars.