Where Have All the (Godly) Men Gone?

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“Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss
And I turn
And I dream of what I need.

I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night. He’s gotta be strong, And he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight”

Where have all the good men gone? This question was asked in the lyrics from the 1984 song “I Need a Hero” from singer Bonnie Tyler.

Yes, as little as 38 years ago, a woman was singing about the need for a hero; a hero that was a good man. Oh, how times have changed.

Where have all the good men gone? Quite simply they have been canceled. Period, plain and simple.

I realize that from a Christian perspective, “good” is not salvific and that good to God is much higher in virtue than the viewpoint of the world concerning men. The point is the world desires to emasculate and effeminize men from being what God has created them to be naturally and spiritually. This is a grievous state to be in, for sure, because men who are being convinced that being honorable, virtuous, sober, leaderlike, protective, and provision minded for family and community, is somehow wrong. Men convinced of this will never seek good or the place from where all good comes. This is a real problem for the world today, and especially for the church.

Where have all the godly men gone?

The prophet Micah has an answer from what he saw in his generation.

(Micah 7:2 KJV) The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.

 (Micah 7:2 NKJV) The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net.

 (Micah 7:2 NASB) The godly man has perished from the land, and there is no upright person among men. All of them lie in wait for bloodshed; Each of them hunts the other with a net.

I have included three different translations to give a full view of what it means to be godly. In the first place,godly” does mean to be a good person, meaning not good in the way that “good” is salvific, but that it is supernaturally produced and a consistent product of the indwelling Spirit of God. Secondly, to be “godly” means one is “faithful”, which implies the godly are not only hearers of the word of God, but doers of the word; and that their character portrays the attributes of Christ. In simple form, this reveals the godly man.

Now in Micah’s day, the “godly” man had all but become extinct in Israel. Religious men were either totally selfish in their pursuits and used religion to gain power and more of what they wanted, or men were disinterested in the call of God. This general trend began long prior to the prophet Micah’s time and the prophet Isaiah revealed the ungodly religious environment that permeated Jewish faith.

(Isaiah 3:12 NKJV) As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err and destroy the way of your paths.”

This was also a huge problem in the day of the prophet Jeremiah.

(Jeremiah 44:15-19 NKJV) 15 Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: 16As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you! 17 But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. 18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.” 19 The women also said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ permission?

Make no mistake, the idea of godly men being few in the majority and soft, was also a problem throughout church story. Consider the warning to the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.

(Revelation 2:20 NKJV) 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

In my biblically informed opinion, the above passage of scripture is one of the strongest reasons for godly men to be disappearing from the church, in our time. In the Church of Thyatira, the angel (messenger) of that church, who would have been its presiding elder or bishop, was aware of the false teaching and the false teacher, who was corrupting the church. The problem is nothing was being done. In fact, Jezebel was part of the pastoral team.

This is why she was about to be cast on a sick bed, rather than killed, because she was improperly given authority to spread false teaching and practice. This was a failure of godly leadership, who were afraid of the consequences of acting in discipline, in good faith. Therefore, her sickness was to remind them of the plight of those who disobey God.

In the American church, it is 1000 percent worse. Almost every denomination seeks to break the proverbial glass ceiling and be the first to eradicate biblical gender roles in the church. This is very dangerous, when the New Testament clearly teaches well defined roles for both men and women.

There is a dearth of women teaching in the modern church, but that dearth of teaching is specifically defined.

(Titus 2:1-5 NKJV) ​1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

In my pastoral experience I have seen marriages which are terribly unbiblical and out of step with the word of God. In every location, I have asked women if they had been personally discipled in the above passage of scripture, by example and teaching from a godly older woman. Those who had been are in the extreme minority.

Herein lies the problem. Even suggesting this can get me cancelled inside of the church, inside my own denominational setting, because of the rise of egalitarian views (improperly and unbiblically equalizing the sexes by explaining away gender roles in the church), but also because godly men are afraid to stand up and speak the truth in love.

When women are not called to live the call of godly womanhood, it does place a strain on men who desire to be godly. That said, I believe there is still another more pressing reason for the loss of godly men in the church of Jesus Christ in America…

To be a godly man means the complete death of oneself. This is very difficult indeed. Note, I did not say impossible, but it will cost a man everything he was apart from Christ, and everything he desires for himself in this life.

(Psalms 4:3-8 NKJV) 3 But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. 4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed and be still. Selah 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the LORD.6 There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift the light of Your countenance upon us. 7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

 In the first place, being a godly man is difficult because it means God has set us apart for His purposes alone. This means the LORD desires us to be involved and engaged in His plan and will, not our own plan and will (Proverbs 3:5-7; Romans 8:14). The idea of being “set apart” deals with us as sacred vessels, such as those in the Jewish temple, used only for God’s purpose and in His service. When not in use, the vessels were to be cleaned and waiting further use, not off being used for other purposes.

(1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NKJV) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.

Secondly, a godly man must realign his heart with the heart of God, that His anger would be a godly expression of faith, rather than a reflection of his own selfish desires expressed in the wrath of man (James 1:19-20).

For a godly man to do this, he must seek to rest in Christ alone, as He mediates on the word both day and night, even when he is lying down on his bed. This is the third reason it is costly to be a godly man. Anxiety over the desire to fix uncomfortable situations may be a manly thing to do, but the godly man seeks to expel anxiety, by aligning his desires with that of mind of Christ. This takes a commitment to the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2), which implies the godly man is seeking to hide the word of God in his heart 24 hours a day (Psalm 1 and 119:9-12).

 A fourth reason for the difficulty in being a godly man, is his need to renounce and reject the desire for a pity party, when things do not go well for him. Psalm 4:6 declares “There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. 7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased”.

In this passage we see the godly man rejecting the pattern of the ungodly to declare in trial, that no one, including God, will show them any good. The godly man remembers the goodness of God and holds to that testimony, as a means of spiritual buoyancy. The godly man must strive to rejoice that every trial is a means of Abba’s loving chastisement. (I Peter 1:6-7).

 (Hebrews 12:1-6 NKJV) ​1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

As the godly man remembers the Lord Jesus Christ and fights to keep looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, He lifts the godly man’s countenance, which leads to our last reason being a godly man is costly and rare in our day.

“For you alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). The godly man understands that it is God who is present with him and makes a man at peace, whether they are in a prison cell—before a firing squad—during abundance or in the throes of abject poverty—being abased and humiliated or abounding in favor. The godly man must reject the desire to improve his station in life, for the circumstances of his life, whether good or bad are seen as ordained or allowed by God for His purposes, because the godly man’s life is not his own. The godly man belongs to Christ, as His purchased possession (Acts 20:28; I Corinthians 6:19-20).

I admit that in my desire to be a godly man, I have failed at times and failed miserably, but that has not diminished the desire to be what brings the Lord Jesus Christ glory and shows the world what He can do in those He has purchased.

Men, we are called to be godly.

Yes, that will mean persecution and tribulation (II Timothy 3:12), but that is one way we can experience the peace of God, being exactly what we were redeemed to be; sober, godly, righteous, in the midst of this perverse generation.

About Michael J Erdel

Mike is a pastor with The Assembly of God Fellowship. He is the lead pastor at Encounter Church in Fostoria Ohio. His desire is to encourage the Church of Jesus Christ, and declare God's hope through His Son Jesus, to a world which is long on excuses and short on hope. Mike has experienced the truth that when we kneel before Christ, surrendering to Him as Savior and LORD, being led and empowered by His Spirit. To Jesus Christ be all glory and honor.
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