Thursday, June 25, 2015

For Women Whose Husbands Are Withdrawing From Church

Many Christian wives with Christian husbands are concerned because their husbands are withdrawing from church and refusing to attend or to be involved. The number one reason that men are becoming disillusioned with church is that the church has become highly feminized. Worship services often focus on emotional things like singing praise songs and sermons are often more of a pep talk or Christian psychology instead of deep doctrine. And, above all, faith is very commonly spoken of in terms of how you feel rather than reasons and evidence.

Most men instinctively withdraw from Christianity that is focused on feelings. They don't want Jesus to be their boyfriend. They don't want to sing mushy love songs to Jesus or talk about their feelings about God. So a worship service that seems like just feeling happy thoughts about Jesus is going to grate and, over time, push them away.

The answer to getting men involved and passionate about church is apologetics. Apologetics is the study of the reasons and evidence for the Christian faith. It's based on facts, not feelings. And men will engage with a Christianity focused on believing something they have evidence for and then going on a mission to change the world (or at least their corner of it).

For more information on men withdrawing from emotional church activities and engaging with apologetics, take a look at this article.

My suggestions for wives whose husbands who are withdrawing from church or other Christian activities are these.

1) Buy some good apologetics books and read them and offer them to your husband. I would start with Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace. Not only does it provide good evidence that makes a compelling case for the resurrection, but it's written by a man who is a cold case homicide detective and who doesn't talk about feelings and emotions, just facts.

Other good apologetics books include How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, Reasonable Faith and On Guard by William Lane Craig, Is God A Moral Monster by Paul Copan, Tactics by Greg Koukl, Christian Apologetics by Doug Groothuis, and Love God With All Your Mind by J. P. Moreland.

2) See if you can find another church that places less emphasis on feelings and that has some sort of apologetics ministry. It is difficult to change churches, but if another church would be a better fit for your family by engaging your husband, it will be well-worth moving to another church.

3) Learn some apologetics yourself and share what you're learning with your husband. Even if your husband isn't interested, at first, in going to church, talking about evidence for Christianity and asking him what he thinks about it can help tremendously. If you can build his faith (and your own) with the evidence for the Christian faith, that's an important step.

4) Stop talking about church and Christianity in terms of feelings. Talk about what God's word says. Talk about what's right and wrong. Talk about how we know the Bible is true and about the evidence for the resurrection. Talk about the history of the church and the persecution that people have withstood in order to hold on to what they knew to be true. But stop talking about how church makes you feel good or how much you "love" Jesus. No doubt church does make you feel good and no doubt you do love Jesus, but talking about Christianity in those terms will not help with your husband.

5) If you do devotions as a family, make them more evidence-based and read the tougher, less fluffy portions regularly. Don't just read the happy, emotional parts of the Bible. Don't read devotions like you would a fairy tale. Read about David slaying Goliath because of his faith in God. Read Hebrews 11 about all the heroes of the faith who stood firm in the face of danger and would not give up. Read Paul's exhortation to fight the fight and run the race to the finish. Read about the armor of God.

If you're really brave, read the grittier, less comfortable passages. For example, read Numbers 25 in which Phinehas saw that a man of Israel was having sex with a heathen and leading the children of Israel to sin and that God was punishing them with a plague, and so he ran the man and the woman through with a javelin and saved the lives of his people. Yep, that's right. The hero saved the day by impaling a man and woman in the act of having immoral sex.

You don't usually hear that kind of stuff on Sunday mornings at church, but the Bible and the Christian faith are not all about happy feelings. Make sure your family devotions give a balanced and accurate view of what the Bible teaches and what the Christian faith is all about. Ask the hard questions about God's character, even in the Old Testament.


If you want to encourage your man to engage with Christianity, don't have a surface-level faith. Have a rigorous one that dives deep into the hard topics and that won't shrink from uncomfortable subjects. Be on a mission to discover God and serve Him as your commanding officer and share that vision with those around you - especially your husband. That is exciting to men. And really, it's exciting to everyone.

We women may often find the more emotional parts of modern churches more comfortable and inviting, but Christianity is about more than just being comfortable and having happy feelings about God while we're on our way to heaven. This earth is a battle ground for the souls of mankind. Sitting comfortably in our pews and singing praise songs, while certainly useful in some ways, does not equip us to fight the spiritual battles around us. Apologetics does. And for the warriors among us - our men - it is vital that they understand the mission and get on board with it. We women need to do our part to encourage them to fight for right and stand for truth, not just to sit happily in the pews every week.


  1. I may be stating the obvious but I'll add one more to the list: Pray that the Holy Spirit will move your husband to love the Church and give you sufficient grace and strength to help him on his journey.

    1. Yes, prayer is always an important thing to do.

  2. I totally agree with this. I was a part of a small church for several years which was so solid in doctrine, and got me very excited about the truth of the gospel. My husband (I don't know the allegiance of his soul, but he says he believes in God) came with me a few times, which gave me some hope that he would enjoy the intellectual aspect. Unfortunately, a few weeks later it came out that the pastor had been cheating on his wife with a college girl, and the church collapsed. I haven't found a church like that ever since.

    1. Hannah, may I recommend podcasts by Ravi Zacharias? They are intellectually sound and definitely seasoned with grace and humility. "Just Thinking" is usually 12-15 minutes and comes out multiple times a week. "Let My People Think" runs 25 minutes and comes out once a week. I usually listen to all multiple times. They sure beat sports radio on the commute to work.

    2. Thank you. I just wish I had a church.
      But we'll be moving to another state early next year, so hopefully I'll be able to find something there.

  3. The modern definition of what a "Church" is is not Biblical and no Christians should attend those pagan rituals.

    House Churches without a single monarchical "Pastor" are what's Biblical.

    1. You place too much emphasis on the outward signs and traditions instead of the heart. The Bible is clear that wherever two or more people gather in the name of Christ, He is there and it is the church. What building they are in or what songs they sing or whether they have one main speaker or many is irrelevant.