Men’s Bible study group look to Scripture to find out what it means to be a man. Their conclusion? Not one feminists would come to

May 18, 2009

Bible group asks what it means to be a man
By Patrick McGee
The Middlesex News
Framingham, Mass.

Franklin group finds politically incorrect answer: Man leads, woman follows.

FRANKLIN — Kirk DeVitro rested his thick forearms on the table and chatted with the men about car parts.

Then they got down to business. They bowed their heads for a prayer , then opened their Bibles.

This isn’t any Bible study group. This is guy talk.

After two years, the seven men from Grace Baptist Church’s congregation have finished  their Bible study that sought to answer an age-old question: what does it mean to be a man.

So what’s the conclusion? Not one a feminist would come to, that’s for sure.

“God has made man to be the leader. That’s his role, and the role of the woman is to support the man,” said Jerry Stearns of Franklin.

“He’s the leader in the home, and he’s the one responsible for what happens in the home,” said Bill Smith of Framingham.

DeVitro said the woman can take important household responsibilities “if she does it with his permission and encouragement (because) he’s (still) being the head” of the house.

“The whole reason for this is I believe churches need to be built around men. If you don’t have a good core of men, you’re not going to get anything done,” said DeVitro, who is  pastor of the church.

But DeVitro said  he organized the Bible study group to prop men up, not to put women down.

“We don’t have a problem with women taking their places in the church. It’s the men who sit back and don’t do anything. We’re not trying to push women out, we’re trying to get the men to sit up and do right,” DeVitro said.

“What I’m hoping is that out of this Bible study group we’re going to form a core of men that will become the natural leaders of the church just by doing right,” he said.

He said he expects some to disagree with the group’s interpretation of the Bible.

As a study guide, the group used, “Is There a Man in the House” by William Kroll. DeVitro said he studied under Kroll at Liberty Baptist College in Virginia, which is now Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

The seven MetroWest men emerged from the two years of study with a deep conviction that the Scriptures is their guide to life.

“All the right answers are right here,” said Bellingham resident Kenneth Beauregard, tapping the cover of his tattered, ancient looking Bible.

Regardless of whatever counsel you get … you need to take it back to the Bible and make sure that it’s grounded  in Scripture,” Smith said. “If it’s solid advice you’ll see the principle repeated and repeated in Scripture.”

The advice the men said they repeatedly found was that the man must  take responsibility for his house and family.

Smith said he sees God placing responsibility on man’s shoulders right from the first book of the bible, Genesis.

“God gave Adam an instruction and Eve changed that instruction. She added to it and she took away from it, but nevertheless, God said that Adam was responsible,” Smith said.

Although the men concluded that the man is meant to be head of the house, they also found God laying down tough standards for men.

DeVitro said they read every Biblical passage with the word husband.

“There weren’t very many good things said about husbands,” DeVitro said with a laugh. “We just realized that God didn’t have a very high opinion of most men. Most men don’t live up to the standard.

Smith said the Bible commands men to instruct and praise.

In one session, the men flipped back and forth in the Bible finding passages that urged them to encourage other such as Hebrews 10:24 which says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.”

DeVitro told the group Peter who is “constantly putting his foot in his mouth” is praised by Jesus when he finally gets it right.

The men said they found the Bible’s instruction to encourage others ironic because Christianity teaches them not to seek encouragement.

“I really think the biggest problem with any man is  pride,” Beauregard said. “It’s funny how pride is preached so much by the world. Everything is pride, pride, pride and Christianity teaches humility.”

DeVitro said they shouldn’t seek encouragement from others but from the Bible.

“The way I become most manly is to yield 100 percent to the spirit of God,” DeVitro said. “He’s not going to steer me wrong.”