Week 5 in the year of our Lord 2022

Being in the world, not of it

12 minutes to read

Modern men are barbarians living in the ruins of an advanced civilization. —Anon

Should Christians shun all associations with fornicators? In a word, no.

In 1 Corinthians 5:9–10, Paul says, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.”

Corinth was a mixed society. In such a situation, there was no way to “quit the world.” Hence, Paul clarifies:

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (vv. 11–13)

This separation is enforced in the church through discipline and excommunication. We are both to remove and dissociate from those who name Christ, yet remain in a lifestyle of sin.

You can’t, however, do that with those who are strangers to the church. They are not under the church’s authority.

With this in mind, Calvin writes: “As to strangers, the Christians at Corinth had no jurisdiction, and they could not restrain their dissolute manner of life. Hence they must of necessity have quitted the world, if they wished to avoid the society of the wicked, whose vices they could not cure.”

You can’t avoid association with the sexually immoral in a society made up of both Christians and non-Christians. Such was Corinth, such is the West.

Chrysostom’s interpretation of this text is a helpful summary:

When I command you to shun fornicators, I do not mean all such; otherwise you would require to go in quest of another world; for we must live among thorns so long as we sojourn on earth. This only do I require, that you do not keep company with fornicators, who wish to be regarded as brethren, lest you should seem by your sufferance to approve of their wickedness.

Not only is it impossible to avoid the sexually immoral of this world, but—in sense—we should pursue them. In John 17, Jesus prays:

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

God removes us from “the world” as in the system under the dominion of sin. He removes us from the headship of Adam and Satan, and thus from that corrupt kingdom, translating us from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13).

Since we have been freed from sin’s dominion, we are no longer “of the world.”

In Jesus’ prayer, He prays not that we be removed from the world, but that we would be kept from falling back into the system which is under the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:19). We are to be set apart in the sense that we are now under the rule of God’s word—this is what means to be, in the popular idiom, in the world but not of it.

But Jesus goes beyond praying that we have a mere passive existence “in” the world. He says, “…I have sent them into the world.” John Montgomery Boice writes, “The word ‘mission’ comes from the Latin verb mitto, mittere, misi, missum, which means ‘to send’ or ‘dispatch.’ A mission is a sending forth.” With the same thing in mind, Charles Spurgeon writes, “Christ was the great Missionary, the Messiah, the Sent One; we are the minor missionaries, Sent out into the world to accomplish the Father’s will and purpose.”

We can’t go “out of the world,” but we can call others out of the society of the wicked and into the church. We are a missionary people, sent to represent our great Savior and God, Jesus Christ.

This mission work will involve being with those who live lifestyles of sin. It is the model of our King:

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Matt 9:10–12).

There will always be those who, like the Pharisees, have no regard for those in need of the gospel. They care more about keeping up appearances than risking guilt by association.

Our Lord was of a different sort. He was a man of compassion. We must be like Him. We must be “in” but not “of.” Lord, strengthen us!

How do we reconcile the need to associate with sinners, and the principle drawn from Proverbs 1 and 1 Corinthians 15:33 that the people you hang out with influences you? “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

Simple: the issue here is not association, nor friendship for the purpose of the Missio Dei. It is an inability to differentiate from the society of the wicked. It is falling in with them, becoming one of them. The young man in Proverbs 1 is to “throw in his lot with them” (v. 14).

This does, of course, follow a spectrum. Some men can witness at brothels without being tempted. Others fall into the snare of the devil. Each man should assess himself with sober judgment, not thinking more highly of himself than he ought.

It is easy to say you’re hanging out with certain people in order to witness to them. It’s also easy to deceive yourself. This is the embodied version of the principle we articulate in our article, Be careful what you laugh at.

The fruit of womb is a blessing.

But know that children can rot as they grow, and become a curse to their parents—and everyone else.

Relatively speaking, it is easy to have a lot kids. It is hard to raise a lot of godly adults.

Christians don’t know how to manage manipulators and propagandists. But they need to. Here are a few tactics to consider:

  • Make them react to you
  • Don’t return reviling for reviling
  • Use humor but without being biting
  • Mix up your tone from serious to humorous
  • Allow their anger to cloud their judgment into making mistakes and going too far—even for their own base
  • Once they show their hand, call everyone’s attention to it over and over again
  • Then totally ghost them for weeks if not months

These methods work because manipulators are typically miserable people, who believe everyone is as angry and miserable as they are. But we aren’t.

Jesus is King. We are washed in the blood. We can have joy in the trials.

New content this week: #

A reader’s summary of what he learned in our book: #

Skyler Swall recently tweeted a cool rundown of some key ideas he found in our book. We are grateful that men are benefiting from our work, and finding it helpful for better understanding the world God made, and their place in it.

I read It’s Good to be a Man by @thisisfoster & Dominic Bnonn Tennant this week.

In it they share their wisdom concerning patriarchy, sex, and manhood.

Here’s what I learned:

Becoming a man is intended to be a slow process, encouraged by the input of others.

Patriarchy is inevitable so it is up to us whether or not we are ruled by weasels or lions.

There are forces at work whom would have you waste yourself on worlds of illusion, rather than create in real life.

The work of rebuilding a noble society begins with the individual. Start with YOUR life.

There is NOTHING shameful about your desire to be better, defeat the odds, and bring your world to bear.

The right orientation of sex is toward bring heaven to earth. Any sex act contrary to this is missing the mark.

Marriage is not the goal. It is a significant step on the path to something glorious.

Self improvement starts with the individual and ends with nation building.

The woman you choose has a significant impact on your ability to move forward in this world.

The fall of a man has something to do with his woman but far more to do with his vigilance.

Worship is not resigned to a church building. The way you live your life is worship.

If you refuse to worship God, it is impossible for you to avoid worshipping something else.

People might think they’re atheist. In fact, they aren’t aware of what entity they are serving.

It was through tolerance of a little degeneration that we inherited the state of culture today.

If you elevate female approval over your purpose you will eventually lose both.

If you want men in the church stop singing to Jesus like he’s your boyfriend.

True Christian men are strong, courageous, and honorable.

There is no virtue in weakness and an unwillingness to fight.

It is GOOD to be dangerous. You cannot protect what you love if you are not capable of violence.

The faith of children is profoundly influenced by their father over any other.

A society of father haters will not be a society for long.

If you lacked a father growing up, surround yourself with men you aspire to be like.

Trusting God is step 1 in healing your father wounds.

If you want to become a competent man find a spiritual father. Follow him.

Don’t put your mentors on a pedestal. They are human too. Take what wisdom you can from them and be grateful. Forgive their flaws.

How a young man treats his elders is indicative of his relationship with God.

Women are designed to be the weaker sex. It is a foolish man who would think less of them for it.

Complaining is for faithless malcontents. Don’t do it.

Every empire started with an attitude of getting 1% better every day. Start small and grow.

This isn’t even half of my notes from the book. I could keep going but I am so hungry right now, and my fiancee just finished making dinner.

So here’s a link to the book so you can read it yourselves. Enjoy.


From Tyrannus Hall: #

One more manly skill: The manly skill of avoiding discouragement by remembering how far you’ve come. Celebrate the wins. Then get back to work.

(If you’re interested in becoming a member of the hall, click here for the info you need »)

Notable: #

Crappy hematite ring marketed as breaking due to negative energy

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Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

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