I don't want to debate the process of translation or of exegesis that arrives at this understanding.
What bothers me is the idea of 'masculine Christianity' that appears to be becoming popular, doubtless due in no small measure to the the rantings of Mark Driscoll and his disciples who come up with amazingly anti-Gospel sound-bites like:
We are deadly serious about the great commission and loading all guns to storm hell with the gospel of grace. And we need more men.Driscoll and his ilk are going to be macho for the Gospel? They are going to do what? Shoot anyone who doesn't love his or her neighbour? Help to usher in the Prince of Peace to his Kingdom through war and hostage-taking?
Well, count me as one woman who grew up with this sort of doggy-do of a theology and who is not going to be silent in the face of this kind of untruth-dressed-as-truth.
Imagine 'masculine Christians' in the Desert with Jesus: Come'on Jesus! Show the devil your stuff and jump off that Temple. Take control of the world and we'll be your army. And while you're at it, sure, you can go ahead and feed the hungry by turning those rocks into bread.
Or how about in the Garden of Gethsemane Hey Jesus! Why are ya prayin'? Prayin's for girls! Now is the time for action; are you afraid to defend yourself? ****** he's putting the soldier's ear back! Stupid wimp. I guess we knew all along that he didn't have the guts to do what needs doing.
It's not about 'masculine' Christianity or 'feminine' Christianity, it's about Christ-centred Christianity. It's about the church of Christ imitating Christ. Jesus pointed out that he could have called down legions of angels rather than submit himself to the cross. Going to the cross was not an act of passivity nor was it a lack of decisiveness or courage: it was an act of faith. An act of faith in the Resurrection and in the Father's being completely without reference to death. It was an act of faith that death and evil would be defeated not by swinging swords at them, but by entering into them.
The kind of 'masculine Christianity' that is being advocated today is the same self-help idolatry that the ancient Israelites fell into and it's the same that the Roman Empire promoted and it's the same self-help idolatry that our own culture promotes: that our power rests in our own courage and strength and ability to fend for ourselves.
Those who see themselves either as being 'in power' or entitled to being 'in power' will easily fall prey to this idolatry. It's also easy to see why those who either consider themselves to be underdogs, or who have sympathy with underdogs, will grasp the meaning of Christ's gospel that the last will be first and that his strength comes when we are weak. It's obvious why those who want to see themselves as strong and macho don't like the real Gospel, but that doesn't make them right.