In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the Apostle Paul makes this strong statement about people with certain ways of life.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.All of these matter. They should matter. I'm not sure they do matter too much in the contemporary church. However, I'm targeting one of these mentioned by Paul, the "effeminate," which is distinguished from "abusers of themselves with mankind." Those two might be related, but they are not the same. You might be a man who is not an abuser of yourself with mankind but still be effeminate.
Some in Paul's list require more judgment than others. Today, you can know when someone has fornicated, committed adultery, practiced a homosexual act, stolen, gotten drunk, reviled, or extorted. Reviling is slander -- we know what that is. You can perceive some visible idolatry and covetousness without seeing what's in the heart. You can't judge all idolatry and covetousness. There may be much more of those two than what you see.
"Effeminate" is more like reviling and stealing than it is like committing idolatry and coveting. You should assume that you can judge effeminate behavior, call something effeminate. The behavior better be judged. The effeminate won't inherit the kingdom of God. That's the worst thing that could happen to someone.
Paul assumes people can recognize effeminate men. The antithesis must also be true, that is, people can distinguish masculine men. That means there are effeminate traits and masculine ones and that they can be judged. I'm saying that most people know this too.
You know that today in American society that judging male behavior to be effeminate is considered more troubling or unacceptable than the effeminate behavior itself. It might be called "bullying," to even call male behavior, "effeminate," or in more modern tautology, "sissy" or "girly." You would be judged to be wrong for saying someone is a sissy or girly or effeminate as a man. The idea here, it seems, is that you can't even know that, when actually you can know that.
To put two of the list together, someone isn't being reviled if it isn't slander. If it is effeminate, saying it is effeminate isn't reviling. Later in scripture, Revelation 21:8 says "all liars" "shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." When effeminate isn't called or referred to as effeminate, then it is a lie. Reviling and lying are both wrong. Men need to hear the truth about being effeminate.
Scripture doesn't say what "effeminate" is. It assumes we know. Evangelicalism cops out on applying scripture and fundamentalism follows suit. This is following the current of the world.
Since scripture doesn't describe what it is to be effeminate, I can hear evangelicals say that knowing effeminate traits is "above that which is written" (1 Cor 4:6). How do I know? That's what evangelicals do with music, dress, and other cultural issues. If scripture doesn't say what effeminate qualities are, then judging them is "above that which is written." This should enlighten in the realm of judgment. God doesn't accept what is worldly lust, fleshly lust, or conformed to this world and music can be all of those. Just like we should assume we can judge what is effeminate in men, we should assume that we can judge worldly, fleshly music. Neither of these is "above that which is written."
Another avenue of evangelical capitulation is dismissing something as "not a gospel issue." Evangelicals and many fundamentalists say, the gospel is first in importance, and you undermine the gospel by not keeping it first in importance. Including "effeminate" in a list of people who won't "inherit the kingdom of God" puts it in a gospel category, even if you and I don't agree with the way evangelicals prioritize the gospel.
I want to say that I can't believe I'm having to make this argument, the one of this post, but you know I have to make it. I have to argue about men not being effeminate. I'm also saying that it's essentially and overall going to be dismissed, which says something else about the condition of Christianity. It might matter who says it, but I'm not sure that anyone will listen or at least do anything about it.
At risk of someone dismissing this entire post (if he hasn't already), I think this started when we said that we can't judge male and female dress. There became no male and female dress and now there is no male and female behavior. Nothing can be differentiated in these areas and it started when women said, I'm going to wear the pants, and men abdicated that symbol of headship. They have nothing now. Nothing. Some of you are sitting there being OK with that. I think that's sissy too.
I added in parenthesis to the title, "and separating from it," because 1 Corinthians 6 lies within the context of 1 Corinthians 5 and the separation of a professing believer out of a church. Obviously this person in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is separated from God for all eternity. In the short term, if he doesn't repent, he shouldn't be able to stay in the church, and he certainly shouldn't be a church leader, let alone a member.
How controversial is it to say that a professing Christian man is effeminate, to name names? Further, how bad is it to say that he needs to stop his effeminate behavior? He's effeminate, so he, so-and-so, shouldn't be a Christian leader, and without repentance, he shouldn't even be considered a Christian. He can be here, but he needs to show that he is willing to stop acting effeminate, to stop being a sissy.
Why might effeminate behavior be indistinguishable anymore from masculine, so that it cannot even be judged? That's not going to change if we can't first say we can judge -- anything. That's not going to change if we can't say that we know what effeminate traits or qualities are. That's not going to change if we can't say a particular, real man is exhibiting that behavior. We should start with private confrontation, entreating someone. If someone is a public figure, it should at least be able to be pointed out and then be pointed out. A person pointing it out should not be criticized for pointing out what should be obvious. I'm not talking about name-calling. I'm talking about indicating a particular effeminate quality that belongs to the name of a real man.
I want my gag reflex to effeminate behavior or qualities to stay. I don't want to tamp down my distaste. The sissified traits are the problem, not my reaction to them.