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The Latest from Greg Morse: Being a Nice Man Isn’t Enough

Greg Morse’s profile at Desiring God

Greg Morse is back at Desiring God offering his words of wisdom to men. Last year he addressed the problem of effeminent men. Then there were the “not safe, but good” men. Now he’s after the “nice guys.”

I heard it again the other day for what must be the hundredth time. “How would I describe him? Hmm. Well, he’s a nice guy.” In other words, “Meh.”

Where is he going with this?

What I am talking about is something different: an unexceptional, unnoticeable, saltless, make-peace-with-the-world existence unbefitting to men born of God (and women born of God, for that matter). A life that starts as a groan and ends in a whisper — with little to take notice of in between. A life this evil generation takes no notice of.

What kind of man is he talking about?

I am talking about a polite existence with no signs of that otherworldliness, that light, that aroma of Christ that is either the fragrance of life to those who are living or the aroma of death to those who are not (2 Corinthians 2:15). I am talking about churchmen who come and go from the gatherings lacking any scent at all, unanimated with spiritual life while being neighborly, polite, civil.

I still don’t get it. What is wrong with being a “nice guy?” Exactly what scent does the right spiritual life give off? I’m guessing it’s not vanilla and lavender. Perhaps it’s more like Old Spice. What is Greg Morse looking for in a man?

Manhood is much more than what it shouldn’t be. In Christ, it
-not merely lacks cowardice, but possesses courage.
-not merely lacks bad views of God, but burns with biblical convictions.
-not merely lacks a domineering spirit, but models godly leadership.
-not merely avoids self-dependence, but commits to prayer.
-not merely avoids habitual sin, but cultivates habitual repentance.
-not merely says “no” to illicit desires, but says “yes” to the local church.

Wow…that is a lot! Strong, but not too strong. Courageous, but also dependent on God. A sinner, but a role model. And, whatever you do, don’t say “no” to the church. We don’t want any pathetic, unexceptional men running around with illicit desires. This sounds like an idolized version of a man.

No wonder there’s no room for the nice guys out there. They’ll never measure up.

16 thoughts on “The Latest from Greg Morse: Being a Nice Man Isn’t Enough”

  1. This past week I attended an awards ceremony for the police department where I volunteer. One officer received a commendation for his work in the technology areas of the department. As he walked off the stage with everyone clapping, I heard someone behind me say, “He seems like such a nice guy.”

    I chuckled a little because I thought of this article. Then I had choice words for Greg Morse because, yes, the best thing for the community is to have police officers who are nice, compassionate, and have integrity.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These kinds of Christian men say women have to be ladies but never say men need to be gentleman. They are too lazy, childish, and selfish to be gentlemen. They only promote what benefits them and makes them feel good.

    Why didn’t Jesus ever go on about his manhood? Is it because Jesus was busy with adult things and didn’t have the mindset of an obnoxious, insecure, ninth-grader?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The catch of authoritarianism is that they always put people into a place where they are unsure where they stand. Confusion. Gaslighting. Why? Because when you are confused and you go to an “authority” he starts with the upper hand of being able to control and manipulate you.

    Morse simply portrays himself as better at discernment than the common Christian rabble, which gets him invitations to speak and potentially wins him over with all the local pastors who want to use their authority to domineer.


  4. I’ve read a similar critique of Christians in Britain being ‘too nice’, meaning ineffective, to porous to have any real convictions, harmless (Gerald Coates, and a long time ago!). Morse seems to be arguing for going beyond Christian men not just not doing anything bad, but doing positive good. They have lost their salt – or at least it has been diluted.

    If you look at it from the point of view of men who will have to pastor churches whose members will lose their jobs or at least be refused jobs if they do not bow down to the LGBT agenda and its politically correct tyranny, e.g.having to use female pronouns for a man who says he is a woman, they are going to have to be men with backbone, who will not succumb to the pressure. The kind of leadership currently in the Church of England (for example) is precisely this kind of effete, compromising variety, including some conservative evangelicals. Little wonder if this isn’t reflected in the general membership.

    I think the balance is it is OK to be ‘nice’ if that means avoiding gratuitously causing offence, but not OK if you compromise the truth in order to avoid causing offence. The apostle Paul did not insult the religion of Diana at Ephesus, but he did not compromise by saying this was just one of many ways to serve God, and Jesus was another one they might like to consider. He could combine being gentle when the occasion needed it, but being outspoken and uncompromising when that was the appropriate response, especially when the need was to confront sin.


  5. “Nice guys” is generally a criticism of the kind of guy who sort of pretends to be nice to get what he wants from women and is typically angry when he doesn’t and shows his true colors…or at least that’s the way I’ve heard it. Springing mostly from people being mad at not getting dates after being described as ‘nice’. But this is hardly a religious thing.

    This otoh is dumb overspiritualizing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Problem is, Lea, you first have to “discern” what the speaker’s definition of “Nice Guy” is. There’s a lot of definitions floating around, and his is not necessarily yours. Like a 21st Century version of the Curse of Babel.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think what he is saying is that there are a lot of lukewarm men out there who have all the appearances of goodness, but lack a passion for life and faith. Perhaps he didn’t convey his thoughts perfectly, but I understand where he is coming from. There are a lot of milk-toast believers out there – both men and women.


  8. The phrase “toxic masculinity” is bantered about these days as something that landed on men because the culture almost demands it out of their macho leadership lives. I read a piece by a young feminist saying that toxic masculinity is a problem women could help men with. As if it is this heavy burden men carry projected by the demands of masculinity. As usual its up to women to pander to their internal poor wounded little boy and fix it. I’d rather spend my time and energy assisting with victims of trafficking not men whose malady of a disordered ego gives them power and control to oppress.

    Toxic masculinity is misnamed and its a myth. It is a sociopath in the making or a fully formed one. The immature, self centered 3 year old in an adult male body having a temper tantrum gets appointed in leadership positions because its the way to power. Those that don’t display those tendencies, lets say they are sad when their male peers pull the wings off a butterfly, are bullied as being “too nice” “sissy” “mommies boy”.

    When the jargon the feminiization of the church was all the latest male rage, and the age old story that “the woman You gave me made me do it” as an excuse for avoiding church was the mantra, any accountability for immature and unethical behavior was blown off as women trying to control men. Or men that were henpecked (another way of saying you can’t hold us accountable for infantile behavior or we are your victim)

    So, the not to nice sermon is “don’t loose that little bad boy edge” Don’t be the sissy that adult respectful mature behavior is…. and if you get called on that immaturity and idolization of male narcissists blame those expecting a grown-up out of you, a male shamer….(an unpardonable sin)….


  9. Cindy – I understand what you’re saying. He starts off from the very beginning with:

    “I heard it again the other day for what must be the hundredth time. ‘How would I describe him? Hmm. Well, he’s a nice guy.’ In other words, ‘Meh.'”

    Without any further description, Morse thinks that “nice guys” are “Meh.”

    My new manager started this past week. I had a one-on-one meeting with her to get to know each other. I left that meeting with the overwhelming feeling of her genuinely being incredibly nice and kind. I walked out of that meeting feeling valued and she is interested in learning more about my contributions to our team.

    Morse has an “ideal image” of what a man should be like. He ends with:

    “We must not embrace the world’s ideal of nice-enough masculinity: males who, while not brutish, linger in a nondescript, housebroken, blunted and smoothed existence. But such men, activated by God, can rise from the wreckage of what Adam’s passivity lost. Loosed from the kennel, we can yet run free and show forth a manhood this world doesn’t know it aches for.”

    I honestly don’t get it. There are a lot of people who walk through life living honestly, helping others, quietly and behind the scenes. Genuinely nice people don’t seem to be enough. And, I’m left to think that Morse is genuinely not a nice person if all he can do is say a nice person is “meh.”


  10. Kathi, I always heard it that kind is different than nice🤷🏻‍♀️

    Nice is sort of generic. I’m more likely to say someone is a ‘great’ guy than nice. Or sweet maybe. Idk. It’s certainly not a bad thing it’s just not a full description.


  11. People tend to associate nice guy with being a weak, boring, pushover the old saying “nice guys finish last”. It’s mostly directed at men who don’t live up tot he cultural expectations of manhood that is strong, tough, manly, take charge etc. Yet in the more conservative Christian culture also adapts this mentality where men are expected live up the traditional ideals of manhood based on sometimes rigid gender stereotypes and the words like effeminate is often used by them to criticize those fit into those ideals. Jesus himself wasn’t traditionally manly or macho. He was a radical who have showed love, mercy, humility, compassion, forgiveness, meekness and he even wept as well as strength, honor, valor and endured suffering for the sake of all of us. Greg Morse is the same person that wrote an article about Captain Marvel complaining about how strong women in the movies and media are portrayed so it doesn’t surprise me that he wrote that article about men. I agree with Kas, that it’s okay for men to have balance. Balance of strength and courage with tenderness and compassion. Rather than nice guys are rather say good men that those balances. God Bless.


  12. Comp men are not the manly heroes of the story. They are the villains. But, in Comp Land these males are masculine. In Troy, they are not Achilles or Hector. They are Menelaus. In John Wick they are not John Wick. They are the Tarasov brat son. In GOT they are not Jon Snow or Tyrion Lannister. They are Ramsay Bolton and Joffrey Baratheon.

    A nice guy would never tolerate this sickness.

    The comp cult is always on the side of the wife-beater, rapist, and pedophile. Though, they try hard to manipulate the victims into thinking they are not.

    Al Mohler got on stage and mocked raped children for not being submissive to their child sex ring cult leader C.J. Mahaney.

    C.J. Mahaney decided that in his cult/church child rape was not illegal.

    Bill Gothard serial pervert. So many red flags.

    Doug Wilson promoter and protector of pedophiles and child rapists. So many red flags.

    Doug Phillips groomed a naive powerless girl to be his sex object.

    The Duggar’s oldest son molested not 1 but 5 little girls. 4 of which were his own little sisters. No big deal. Jim Bob knows the perfect pedo police officer to have a talk with his son.

    Paige Patterson protector and promoter of rapist and wife beaters.

    John Piper has decided that HE thinks a wife can take abuse for a season. HE also giggles about wife abuse.

    There are so many more.

    My own comp father beat his teen wife in the face because the baby he FORCED her to get pregnant with cried as a sick baby. His wife should have figured out how to shut the sick suffering baby up.

    The comp man who sexually abused me as a child believed he should be able to have sex with every little virgin girl he wanted.

    Real men despise rape, especially child rape. To be a real man one must be a GROWN up. Grown wise men know many factual things; like how traumatizing and unbearable rape is for a child. Comp men pretend what they want to be true is true (all things that benefit their agendas and flatter their egos) and pretend what they don’t want to be true isn’t true. Grown men do not play make-believe. Real men rescue abused women and abused children. Comp men are the ones abusing women and children and advocating for the abusers.

    Good people are turned on and pleased when the masculine good guy in movies rescues a rape victim and beats up a wife beater. Then helps them get away and stay away from their abusers. ISIS, the Taliban, and complementarians are on the side of the rapist, pedophile, and wife beaters. I have had a couple of comp men try to pretend they were on my side. They only wanted me to see things the way it would benefit comp men and keep me in their cult.


  13. I agree with Kas, that it’s okay for men to have balance. Balance of strength and courage with tenderness and compassion.

    Sidenote: It is also okay for women to have that balance. Sad that people like Greg Morse would tell women to be nothing but ‘nice’ in the face of bad treatment of themselves, or others. We are all complex people and should be more than one thing.


  14. @Arwen (Eveningstar?):

    It seems so many of these guys just spout garbage because they love to hear themselves talk (much like one of their ringleaders, John Piper.) SMH.

    Madly deeply in Love with the sound of their own words.
    If not the smell of their own farts.

    We used to have a guy like that in local Furry Fandom.
    A Legend in his own mind, a running bad joke in everyone else’s.


  15. @ChristiantyHurts:

    Why didn’t Jesus ever go on about his manhood? Is it because Jesus was busy with adult things and didn’t have the mindset of an obnoxious, insecure, ninth-grader?

    Because Jesus was a grown-up.


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