He has Conviction, not mere Preference…

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.(Hebrews 11:6)

Where I come from, the state of Iowa in the heartland of America, wrestling is a big deal. We have a long tradition in the Sport and are known throughout the world for our wrestling. For a High school athlete, to qualify for the state wrestling meet is an incredible honor.

One of the young men in our church has worked hard enough and been dedicated enough to qualify for the state wrestling tournament for the second year in a row. Last year he placed third as a freshman. But as in all of life in this fallen world, this year there is a hitch.

This year , for the first time in 91 years official Iowa high school wrestling, two girls also qualified for state, in his weight class. Joel was scheduled to wrestle one of them in the first round. As a christian, Joel has a conviction, a man doesn’t wrestle a woman. Period.

It shouldn’t be that he would even have to choose between keeping his conviction or advancing in the state wrestling tournament, because in a saner time, no one would consider allowing girls into the highly aggressive, highly physical, hands all over sport of wrestling. Who in their right mind would ever subject a daughter to high crotch or single leg takedowns or body slams?

In those days womanhood was regarded as sacred, a man didn’t touch a woman in a familiar way, much less body slam them into a mat, grapple and grope, body to body in an attempt to pin her body to the ground. It was understood that men and women are different, and to be treated differently. That was then, this is now.

Now we have a feminist movement, which is really against femininity as previously understood. Women are out to prove that they can be as rough, tough and coarse as any man. Really feminism ought to be called “masculinism”, because feminists are envious of the male role, and masculinity is the effect it has had on women in general.

Feminism is the movement which is responsible for “abortion rights”, which is the repudiation of the heart of femininity, motherhood,nurture, and sacrificial love. Those were the aspects of being a woman once widely thought to be sacred, and worthy of all protection and respect by society.Every abortion kills two people, a baby, and a mother.

Amateur sports in the USA has been profoundly undermined by feminism, for in their quest for equality, feminists have successfully destroyed hundreds of public university men’s sports programs through “title IX”, a court imposed mandate that women and men be “equally represented” in sports programs by quota. To date 400 college or University wrestling programs have been dropped because of Title IX.

There is an underlying spiritual component to all of this, for radical humanism would eradicate all God ordained distinctions such as  right/wrong, Male/Female,Creator/Creation, as an expression of human independence from the God of the Bible. “Let us cast of their cords”, according to the second Psalm, is what rebellious men say against “the Lord and His Christ”, in the last days.

But Christians are to bear witness to the truth, each of us to our generation. Particularly that truth which is being called into question or denied at that particular moment, by the spirit of the Age. This age would blur the God assigned gender roles, and would insist that all of us participate in the rebellion.

Joel Northrup, the young man I spoke of earlier, stood up for Christ at that point. He would not treat a young woman in that way, he would not go along with the new androgynous spirit of the Age, nor would he deny the Genesis truth, that man and woman are equal but not interchangeable. Not even for a shot at the state title he had worked so hard for.

In spite of the pressure of anticipation, (this was a historic first, a girl qualifying for state), the desire to help his team win a team title, the media, his peers, and just wanting to win, Joel walked out to the mat and defaulted rather than wrestle the young woman.

He then issued a simply worded statement to the media:

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan (Black, the tournament’s other female entrant) and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most of the high school sports in Iowa.”

True faith is not to be confused with mere preference, faith is conviction. God showed Joel something, and he acted on that revelation,  even though it cost him something. At that very point that the world is denying truth, Joel confessed Christ. God bless you Joel, you are a champ in my book!



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16 Responses to He has Conviction, not mere Preference…

  1. Patricia Hanna says:

    to Joel: You did the right thing. Just like Daniel, when he was living among the pagans of Babylon, and refused to compromise his faith. Your spiritual reward for remaining faithful to God and to your conscience will far overshadow the sacrifice made. Stand firm, and God bless.
    I heard all of this discussed on Jan Mikelson’s show on WHO this morning, and was so disappointed with Jan’s take on the issue. When I heard of Joel’s decision and about how he handled it, my thought was that this young man must be a believer in Christ. Our culture is sliding into shame and degradation. Thank God for faithful witnesses like Joel.

  2. Jess Vandewater says:

    Joel Northrup is truly a shining star in a crooked and depraved generation. I am impressed by his conviction and willingness to take an unpopular stand in such a public arena.

    “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”
    Philippians 2: 14-15

  3. Ali says:

    ‘He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, and to gain what he cannot lose’.
    ~Jim Elliot

  4. Way to go Joel!

    What a stupid thing for girls to want to do, and even more stupid for their parents to allow it.

  5. Marcus Bechtold says:

    I consider Joel to be one of my best friends. We hang out together all the time. Seeing Joel stand for what is right in the midst of the this whole thing has been a huge encouragement to me. I am glad to have a friend who not only is a Christian with his church buddies, but also a Christian in every area of his life. Great job Joel. In my book you won it all:)

  6. Well said, Pastor Bill. I am quite disappointed that Joel had to be put into this situation, but I am so very proud of and encouraged by his decision to follow his conscience despite the consequences. Joel’s story is all over sports news; and, I can’t help but think that in all of this God must have a purpose even bigger than a state title. Well done, Joel. May God be glorified!

  7. Clint says:

    It takes great courage to stand up for what it right even when it costs us dearly. I want to praise this young man for the morals, faithfulness and fortitude to do the right thing for the right reason at the right time. May God bless you and may his light shine upon you and to God be the Glory for all things.

  8. Dave Sheard says:

    Praise The Lord, God bless you Joel. The Lord will reward you for your conviction. Be sure this story will be heard in many places to the Lord’s glory. We live in dark days but the light of truth shines brighter. Thank you for writing about this Bill.

  9. Ann Mahoney says:

    I’d like to let Joel know what a blessing he brought to us here in New Hampshire when we heard his story broadcast on the network news. Our friends and we were praising the Lord and asking his greatest blessings for Joel and his family.

    I was amazed then to open your blog Pastor Bill and find out that we could personally send our words of appreciation to Joel. In an otherwise dark and discouraging news day his strong conviction to take his stand for Christ brought encouragement to all our hearts. God bless you Joel, you’ll never know how much your sacrifice has meant to so many people. Thank you.

    Ann Mahoney

  10. Karen Julson says:

    But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. James 1:22
    Joel put his faith into action. God bless you, Joel.

  11. Terri Bettencourt says:

    I am a pastor’s wife in Central California and am also a wrestling mom. Joel’s decision not to wrestle a girl and give up a chance to be a state champion is such an awesome testimony for Christ. I thank God that there are young men in our culture who have the courage to stand for biblical principles. Because of our technology, this story has exploded on the internet! Pastor John Piper commented on his facebook page which stirred a plethera of comments. We are praising God for this young man and his family, his church and his pastor!

  12. Justin Fisher says:

    What a great blogpost to describe a great act of faith by Joel! Thank you for helping keep this in perspective with God’s provision for us Pastor Bill. As a former wrestler myself, I applaud you Joel. I know how we want to go out and win every match, but you let that wrestler in you die to Christ and let Him take over. That is what is so encouraging. Remember that the Lord has greater plans for you Joel, and that no matter what, He has allowed you to also share with others in being an Iowa State Wrestling Qualifier but most of all to state you are a follower of Christ to an entire nation! Praise be to God, and best of luck in the future to Joel, the Northrup family, and B.I.G.

  13. The sad thing about today’s Gazette article, is that the majority of commenters claim he was just afraid of losing. Liberals have no clue as to right and wrong.

  14. George says:

    I too must commend Joel for his act of “standing up for his beliefs.” So much these days I observe in this world people who claim that God does not exist, that we are in charge of our destiny. They say, “You have no proof. Therefore you are fools.” I cannot remember the exact line but to them I usually say, “Treat others like you wish to be treated.” I nod, I smile and silently I pray for them. I know that God is good and will save them anyway even if they do not believe.
    I have met more screwed up people who say they are atheists. Joel’s actions just make me happy to know that there are some young people still out there that are willing to win by losing.
    Joel keep up the good work there brother.

  15. manoahswife says:

    I am encouraged by Joel’s courage and steadfast faith–it gives me great hope for this generation. My only question is not for him, it is: “Where are the fathers of those girls and why would they allowed their daughters to be treated like this?” I can not imagine my husband willingly allowing our daughter to be touched, slammed, or treated like these girls were in the course of their wrestling. He would consider it his solemn and God-given responsibility to protect her from any and all possible harm. How sad that we are teaching boys that this is an acceptable way to treat a woman. Where are all of the outcries against physical abuse? So, it’s o.k. to body-slam a woman if she is a willing participant in wrestling? Why is it not o.k. then when she willingly stays in an abusive relationship? This makes absolutely no sense, nor should it. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

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