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Knighthood = Manhood?


In recent years there has been a revival of the whole fantasy about knights and the honorable lives they lived so many years ago. Consider the movie "Braveheart". Mel Gibson is apparently a person who holds dearly to freedom and it was natural for him to play William Wallace, "a bold Scotsman who used the steel of his blade and the fire of his intellect to rally his countrymen to liberation".

In the movie Wallace was knighted by Robert the Bruce, who reportedly started and continued the Scottish Rite. These men are set up as heroes and role models for todayís society. This particular movie sticks out because the cry is "freedom", and that cry is connected to standing and dying for ones beliefs, religious and otherwise. This theme, common throughout many other movies and works of literature today, are creating a counterfeit image for men to live up.

Certain things have been made clear in statements from groups like Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, their leadership and many of their promoted resources. The leadership of these two organizations has always worked together, supporting each other's values, ideas and extra-Biblical resources.

According to them, men, in general, are not looked upon as examples of what young men or boys should be, or follow, because of lack of ritual, ceremony and expectations. Becoming a "man" without these rituals is viewed as a dismal failure. They see society as falling apart because of a manís failure to be a role model, as a father and Christian, one who stands and defends the faith, like the knights of old. So now we have the need expressed, the desire is set up, and here is their solution.

Knighthood. The "godly" answer. In the June 1997 issue of Focus on the Family magazine, the front cover shows a man in knight garb apparently kneeling before a church altar. A sword is dubbing his shoulder and his hands are clasped in prayer as he looks down. On the altar table behind him sits his Knight helmet, gloves and another sword. The caption reads: "Manhood. Pass it on." This picture was the introduction to the review and promotion of the book: " Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood" by Robert Lewis.

Further into the magazine the article reviewing this book states in its lead caption: "Manhood (with a sword through it) Don't Let Your Son Leave Home Without It" by Robert Lewis. The promotion of " Raising a Modern-Day Knight ", says the following:

" Grooming a Defender of the Cross.
What does being a man really mean? And how do we instill "biblical manliness" in our sons? By Raising a Modern-Day Knight. Beginning with a scriptural perspective on manhood, author-pastor Robert Lewis shares a unique approach to producing a godly man by equipping him with three essential elements: a vision, a code of conduct and a cause (Christianity).
Request it and let it help you guide your son to authentic, honorable manhood (with an approach that's as visionary as practical). From Focus on the Family Publishing. "

Some of the reviews of "Raising a Modern-Day Knight" came from men excited by the book and all that it held for them and their sons.

"Finally, a guide to prepare our sons for true MANHOOD. I have a young son and I have been troubled at my lack of knowledge in how to truly prepare him for growing up into a Godly Man. When my wife presented this book to me, I couldn't put it down. It gave me wonderful ideas about guiding my son into Christian manhood and to not wait until he became 18 and say, 'Your a man now, so act like it'. I can now take defining moments of my son's life and engrave them into him as steps he is taking along the path to manhood. I honestly believe that many men today cannot say when they became a MAN. They don't have the memory of what made them into a MAN. I am determined to not let my son be one of those men. I am determined that he will not only know when he became a MAN, but also know that he is a GODLY MAN. Mr. Lewis' book has made that possible. --This text refers to the paperback edition of this title."

" David Snead , Richmond, VA , 10/20/97, rating=9:
Excellent, specific work on how-to for fathers, sons, church. An excellent work with specifics on how-to raise a modern day man (knight) in today's society. It does not dwell on the negative but spends its time on how to's. Best read as a group of three to five men who would like to put its contents into a real-life application. Should be a required standard in church libraries. Its practical steps not only help fathers raise modern day men, but these principles would benefit any son to apply to their own lives as well as churches looking to start such a ministry. --This text refers to the paperback edition of this title".

" John Coale 07/13/97, rating=10:
Fathers - Join the Knights of the Round Table
Out of the Dark Ages rose noble characters to preserve and maintain law, justice, and social order. They became gentle men, men of valor, principled men-Knights. All knights swore an oath to and lived by a code of conduct: loyalty, chivalry, honesty, generosity, unselfish service, dedicated to justice, with Biblical principles of absolute right and wrong, and obedience to God. A knight who broke his oath was charged with treason for betraying the order of knighthood. These ideals combined with the well-defined mentoring process made a boy into a knight. By age eight, a boy left his mother's care and became a page, learning the rudiments of knighthood under a mentor. By age 14, he became a squire, a knight's servant, while perfecting his skills through discipline and hard work. When he turned 21, he was eligible for knighthood. His ceremony was memorable--a ritual cleansing, ceremonial dress, a day of fasting and a night of prayer, confession, communion, a review of his moral, religious, social, and military duties, and, finally, a question. For what purpose do you desire to enter the order? If it be riches, to take your ease, and be held in honor without doing honor to knighthood, you are unworthy of it.
Now imagine your son going through this knightly process to attain Biblical manhood. Yes, it can be done. For fathers, Robert Lewis outlines a practical guide to teach and live these ideals, mentoring your son in the process to become a knight. What is a Man? What are his responsibilities, his beliefs, his behavior, and his goals? When does a boy become a man in our society? When he gets his driver's license, joins the Army, takes a woman to bed, or financially provides for himself?
First, Raising a Modern-Day Knight provides a vision for manhood. It characterizes a man who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects the greater reward-God's reward.
Second, it defines a Biblical code of conduct: loyalty (Hos 6:6), servant-leadership (Mat 20:26-27), kindness (Pro 19:22), humility (Phil 2:3), purity (1 Tim 4:12), honesty (Eph 4:25), self-discipline (1 Tim 4:7-8), excellence (1 Cor 9:24), integrity (Pro 10:9), and perseverance (Gal 6:9). Finally, it establishes a superior cause to work towards which can only be satisfied in Jesus Christ. By celebrating the stages of training with ceremony, a father reinforces the process. Through godly example, teachable moments
inspiring stories, and positive affirmations, a father helps his young knight discover a will to obey God, to employ God's gifts, and to respect women. Are you ready to be a knightly example for your son? Work for the King and become His knight. Pass it on to your son. A righteous man who walks in integrity-how blessed are his sons after him. (Pro 20:7)
Highly Recommended for small groups of men to create a round table of their own.
--This text refers to the paperback edition of this title."

However not everyone views the idea of teaching boys to become Knights in such glowing terms.

"Here is the Promise Keepers idea of raising boys to become "knights" of the apostasy. Note one reviewer's sappy, grade school fantasy of the Middle Ages as a time of truth, justice, and honor. Observe his breezy transition from pagan feudalism (Romano-German in origin, collectivist, oath-based, and despotic) to "Biblical principles of absolute right and wrong." It is a supreme but fitting irony that the American Republic, in her final agonies, should reach out to grasp Europe's dead, mouldering hand of Catholic ecclesiastical tyranny and superstitious ritualism." (Name withheld)

James Dobson (CNP) fully endorsed this book by listing it first on his list of must read material in that issue. I received the June issue of Focus on the Family magazine, just after listening to James Ryle, pastor to Bill McCartney (Promise Keepers), and his rendition of his dreams and prophecies in his taped message "Sons of Thunder".

On the tape he retold of events that occurred when he had gone to Ricky Skaggs' church to share his dreams and visions. When he could not think of how to pray to end the service, he was inspired by a sword lying on the altar. He grabbed the sword and proceeded to 'Knight' everyone in the congregation to this unique call.

He went on to tell of how he later received a call from an excited pastor who had heard about the incredible event of the sword and knighting that took place in Ricky Skaggs' church. He and his congregation were so moved by the event that they desired to immediately become a part of this move from God. However they were at a loss because they didn't have a sword handy. Then with sudden inspiration they proceeded to knight one another with a music stand. James Ryle recounts the enthusiasm of the pastor as he shared the blessings of being a part of this wonderful move....

In one of their stadium events in 1993, Promise Keepers supported and distributed 50,000 copies of the book "The Masculine Journey" by Robert Hicks, along with the corresponding workbooks. Since that time Promise Keepers has adamantly disavowed using or still upholding "The Masculine Journey".

However, because of this issue of promoting Knights and Knighthood as necessary to becoming men, it seemed to parallel much of what Robert Hicks had said about manhood. However, there is this strong denial that he has influenced the leadership of Promise Keepers or that the book is referenced or upheld in any way. It was stated that men have to get back to being warriors and author Robert Hicks also referenced some thoughts about warriors, Knights and swords.

" ...The warrior with-in has departed. To see it happening to men so young is a sad state of affairs. They have lost their sword. Robert Bly laments this absence of warriors: The warriors inside American men have become weak...." (The Masculine Journey, Pg. 72,)

Also: " Patrick Arnold has observed, The warrior is one of the most important archetypes in masculine spirituality and a central male role in virtually every society.... the Warrior ...archetype of resistance to evil in its myriad forms... the Warrior has come to epitomizes the noblest qualities of masculinity: bravery, self-sacrifice, stamina, and heroic detachment... (The Masculine Journey, Pg. 75) ". .it is the warrior in men press towards goals, to stand their ground, to defend their personal and corporate values..." (The Masculine Journey, Pg. 78)

And: " In past cultures this was ritualized, but unfortunately, today men must fend for themselves... (The Masculine Journey, Pg. 92) "...what happens when men as fathers lose the warrior instinct... As fathers lose touch with the warrior, fewer fathers give any modeling beyond the copper bridge... "(The Masculine Journey, Pg.94)

Did God really inspire these ceremonies and rituals? The Bible talks specifically about not being caught up in the vain traditions of men. The disciples and apostles were never "knighted" and yet they were very much men serving God and approved by God. They were examples of the work God does in men, without any other guidance, teachings or rituals, they went only by what Christ taught, and that is in the Bible. Isn't our job as parents to teach our children the things of Him, through the only reliable source we have--the Word of God?

Colossians 2: 6-9 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

Another interesting parallel exists between this "new" movement for knighthood and warriors and the historical notes in H.G. Wells "The Outline of History", 1949, original in 1920. He was talking about "Princes, Parliaments and Powers", page 814-815, and what Oliver Cromwell considered good qualifications of a soldier.

"There emerged among the Parliamentary commanders a certain Oliver Cromwell, who had raised a small troop of horse and who rose to the position of general...He was no mere fighting soldier, but a military organizer; he realized the inferior quality of many of the Parliamentary forces, and set himself to remedy it. The Cavaliers of the King had the picturesque tradition of chivalry and loyalty on their side..."Your troops are most of them old decayed serving men and tapsters," said Cromwell. "Do you think that the spirits of such base and mean fellows will ever be able to encounter gentlemen that have honour and courage and resolution in them?...But there is something better and stronger than picturesque chivalry in the world, religious enthusiasm. So Cromwell set himself to get together a "godly" regiment. They were to be earnest, sober-living men. Above all, they were to be men of strong convictions. He disregarded all social traditions and drew his officers from every class. "I had rather have a plain, russet-coated captain that knows what he fights for and loves what he knows, than what you call a gentleman and is nothing else...England discovered a new force, the Ironsides, in its midst, in which footmen, draymen, and ships captains held high command, side by side with men of family. They became the type in which the Parliament sought to reconstruct its entire army. The Ironsides were the backbone of the "New Model".

When one looks at the true historical record of knights and their moral conduct and behaviour, we come to realize that most of what is being upheld as 'knightly' behaviour is a romantic notion, far removed from reality. What is not being presented is the reality that many of these 'gentlemen' were guilty of atrocious crimes and betrayals of trust, all under the guise of their 'godly' causes.

Despite numerous denials to the contrary by Promise Keepers leadership we are apparently seeing the philosophy of Robert Hickís book "The Masculine Journey", being taken to completion. Promise Keepers' own Board member, Dr. Stu Weber, has also added to the list of "necessary" reading. He wrote a book entitled "Tender Warrior", which is hailed as the "blueprint for biblical masculinity". Robert Lewis and "Raising a Modern-Day Knight" is just one more "rite and ceremony" to that end.

What is amazing is the number of men who are already very good fathers and role models that actually accept and agree to these "new ideas" and feel they have to change and ritualize what they do.

These 'Knightly' ceremonies and rituals that are so desired are reflected in the documented ceremonies within Freemasonry and Knights Templar, etc., from the initiation to moving up in degrees. When you read about the beliefs and rituals of these groups of men, it fits perfectly with the direction Promise Keepers and Focus on the Family are leading today's men.

Part of the rituals of Knighthood and specifically Knights Templar, during the Crusades, was when going into battle they used war cries, banners, etc. ... each item had meaning and ritual and we are seeing these practices duplicated today. In battles, the knight's flag or Standard was raised to indicate that the knight was supposed to keep fighting. When the Standard was lowered, fighting ceased. In 1995, Promise Keepersí theme was "Raise the Standard". Could this be a reflection of the same thinking?

Robert Lewis, author of "Raising a Modern Day Knight", stated in "Focus on the Family", June 1997 edition, that "I believe it is time to resurrect the chivalrous knight: his ideals, his process and his ceremonies. I want him to speak to a new generation that has the potential for greatness but lacks only the opportunity: our sons!"

The goal of the enemy has always been to resurrect his processes, his ceremonies and rituals to turn people away from the truth of the Bible. Ultimately these will lead to providing the means of installing the one world religion and the anti-christ. These things do not come from, nor can they be upheld as being Biblical.

To ritualize and make extra rules for living according to man's thinking and behaviour goes against the Word of God.

Matthew 15:7-9 states this:

"Ye hypocrites, well did E-sai-as prophesy of you, saying. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

A man and his family committed to God and His Word, are going to be spending time together, growing in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That time spent together in the Word of God, is the modeling necessary for our sons and daughters to become committed men and women of God.

Instead of ritualizing manmade thinking and the process of manhood, why not seek the Word of God, and become examples and ensamples to our families for holy, committed living in Christ? He is the answer to all our needs and problems. He is the one that binds the relationships in a family. Becoming a "knight" is placing a ritual in place of all that.

There is much instruction from the Bible given to young people in regards to living a godly life. There are guidelines for every step they take in the process of growing up physically and spiritually. They are encouraged to move from not understanding many ideas of the Bible, to desiring the mature "meat" of the Word of God. True wisdom for everyone begins in the fear of the Lord. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing our children move from being babes in the Lord, to young men and women with a thirst after righteousness. We know that will only be fulfilled when they truly seek God.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

One of the book reviews above listed scriptures that reflect just some of the qualities that should be in those who love God. Not one of those verses, or any other verses suggest the necessity of pretending to become a Knight, in thinking or ritual, in order to achieve manhood. Nor do they suggest a need for Knighting rituals or ceremonies in order to be showing adherence to those qualities or in order to mature in and reflect Christ. However, total commitment to Christ and His word and nothing less will provide the desired effect.

Galatians 5:22-24 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

2 Timothy 3:13-17 "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things that thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, that are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

The only goal a Christian needs is to be focused on the things of Christ and to become more like Him. Being caught up in rituals and ceremonies and being concerned with what others perceive as a landmark sign of maturity shows a lack of Biblical maturity and understanding. Becoming a mature adult in Christ is a process over time, and many 40 or 60 years olds are less mature, emotionally and more importantly spiritually, than some twenty-year-olds, because they have focused on the wrong things. That is, they have been caught up in the vain traditions and approval of men, instead of the fulfillment of the things of Christ.

Being concerned with when our sons become "a man" in our eyes, through various worldly activities and rituals is lacking Scriptural foundation.

See: Memorable Correspondences on This Article


All Scripture Quotes from the Authorized King James Bible

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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