Mr. [Mark] Driscoll certainly has a renegade reputation in much of the evangelical world, but his macho vision of Christ has deep roots in America. Jesus as a brave warrior””not a meek preacher””has been a consistent theme in some Christian circles since the late 1800s.
At the end of the Victorian period, Jesus was widely depicted as a sweet, almost feminine, savior, and church leaders began to ask why so many men were absenting themselves from the pews. They found their answer in “the soft, curled, hermaphroditical” Jesus taken to task in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.”
As Teddy Roosevelt decried the “over-civilized man,” and Frederic Remington’s popular woodcuts in Harper’s Weekly idealized the soldier in battle and the football player on the gridiron, many Americans craved a manly redeemer. Preachers delivered, in the hope that a rough-hewn Jesus would draw men back to the pews.