The culture war rages on many fronts. Consider the defection of men from the battle. In a recent Barna Research study, mothers reportedly outpaced fathers in terms of spiritual activity and commitment.

The study stated, “Men may enjoy advantages in physical strength, but they are much less likely than women to exercise their spiritual muscles. This gender gap extends to the typical family unit: mothers outpace fathers in terms of spiritual activity and commitment. In fact, the Barna survey examined 12 different elements of faith behavior and perspective. Mothers were distinct from fathers on 11 of the 12 factors.”

Further, “when it comes to spiritual perspectives, a majority of mothers said they have been greatly transformed by their faith, while less than half of fathers had shared this experience. Also, three-quarters of moms said their faith is very important in their life, while this view was true among just two-thirds of fathers. Mothers were also more likely than fathers to be born again Christians, to say they are absolutely committed to Christianity, and to embrace a personal responsibility to share their faith in Jesus Christ with others.”

“Moms are also more religiously active. In a typical week, mothers are more likely than are fathers to attend church, pray, read the Bible, participate in a small group, attend Sunday school, and volunteer some of their time to help a non-profit organization. The only faith-related activity in which fathers are just as likely as mothers to engage is volunteering to help at a church.”

What should we make of this development?

First, we can praise God for women who are committed to Christ. Without them, far more of our children would not be won to Christ, the current level of Christian influence in the culture would be diminished, and the future would be bleaker than it is. A home that has a woman committed to Christ is certainly more enriched for it and for that we can be grateful.

Second, at the same time, with the defection of men, a commitment to Christ will increasingly be seen as something for women and children alone. Obvious consequences regarding the loss of more men and boys as they grow to be men will ensue.

Third, spiritual leadership in the home suffers when men do not take the lead. Women often violate biblical principles out of frustration, children are not parented properly as fathers are not involved or are involved in the wrong way, male spiritual leadership is not modeled, and the upshot is a spiritually dysfunctional home. Children grow up with no experiential understanding of a biblically ordered home not only in terms of the respective roles of fathers and mothers, but also in terms of family devotions, family commitment to the church, and family commitment to gospel advance. This lack will multiply exponentially as these children form homes of their own in adulthood.

Fourth, spiritually dysfunctional families lead to spiritually dysfunctional churches. The family is but a microcosm of the church both biblically and practically. As the family goes, so goes the church. Again, women often violate biblical principles in the context of the church as men refuse to assume their biblical responsibilities, the church itself is not shepherded properly, God’s design for pastoral leadership and male leadership in the home is frustrated, and the upshot is an ineffective church. The members grow accustomed to the model before them and lose an understanding of and commitment to proper gender roles within the context of the church. A weakened doctrinal commitment is followed by a weakened commitment to the church as a large number of those who are supposed to be present are not, namely the men, and a weakened influence in the world for Christ results.