Kindness, gentleness, compassion and so forth are really great virtues. Spinelessness is not.
Western Christianity is plagued with spineless men – sadly many of them (largely in Mainstream Protestantism) are touted as church leaders. You know the sort: men who speak in breathy, emotive tones, who cry for everyone, and who will embrace any harebrained theology that comes down the pike – so long as it is not judgmental, exclusive or… Biblically based. Lest anyone think I am sexist there is plenty of spinelessness if Mainline Protestantism, in which the ladies indulge. Spinelessness (and folly) is – if nothing else – egalitarian.
Oh how I long for the day of learned churchmen like Luther, who were not afraid to call a “spade a spade” or the pope an ass, men who were not afraid to stand up for God, to proclaim Jesus Christ as savior and the only way to God, men who would not equivocate and would publicly proclaim that outside of Christ there is no salvation and no matter how “nice” you are you are damned to eternal Hell, unless you believe that Jesus died for your sins.
Much of the mess Western Christianity finds itself in does not stem from being too dogmatic, but rather from the fact that too many modern leaders were/are not dogmatic enough – they stood for little, if anything. They proclaimed nothing of value.
Jesus speaking of John gives us an idea of what people must have been saying – the misgivings they must have been having about this “wild man.” Perhaps he was too opinionated, too emphatic, too rigid, unbending in his certainty regarding the Word of God and His promise of a Messiah?
“What did you go out into the wilderness to look at,” Jesus says. “A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in the royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.”
John was a man who stood tall and unbending against the wind of conformity. He endured hardship, rather than embracing softness. This is what Jesus calls us to be – not just men but women as well. Stand up, be counted and regarding the things of God be as inflexible as John
Mighty Lord, make me an oak rather than a reed. Help me to stand up for you and your Word and be counted among your saints who strive for your Kingdom rather than those people who keep company with the spineless who sway to and fro and who are blow like leaves along the ground – captive to the winds of the moment. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.