How Joel Touched a Nerve

Yesterday a young man quietly stepped out onto a wrestling mat in Iowa and defaulted an opening round match in a tournament that he was highly favored to win. In a prepared, brief and modestly worded statement, He explained that his action was an expression of His christian faith.

Within minutes millions of people around the world were discussing this simple act. 675 major news articles, lively discussion on sports television, local and national talk shows, internet discussion boards engaged in earnest discussion over the simple act of faith.

Why would anything that happened in Iowa on a thursday morning at a high school wrestling tournament, provoke such a heated reaction from India, to Russia to the New York Times, Fox News, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette?

Joel Northrup, the young man in question, inadvertently touched a nerve. The reason he forfeited a wrestling match at the Iowa High school state wrestling meet, was because he was slated to wrestle a young woman in the first round, something his Christian faith would not allow him to do.

The public statement is instructive for its modesty and respect, I quote,

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Cassy) and (Ottumwa’s Megan Black, who also qualified for state) 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 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 other High School sports in Iowa.”

Joel didn’t demand concessions for himself of the wrestling association, nor did he posture as some kind of victim, but with quiet dignity he took himself out of the match (and the semi finals of the tournament he was favored to win)and submitted through the Athletic director of his school, the statement above.

The passions that this simple act have given rise to, are instructive also, of the national  “nerves” which Joel has touched.

* The Nerve of Radical Feminism– The Iowa High School Athletic Association has gone along with much of the rest of our lost culture in participating in the lie which has been force-fed into our culture, that other than obvious plumbing differences, there is no difference between boys and girls, and those who insist that there are, are “hung up”.

This is an obvious lie, and people know it instinctively, but like the Emperors New Clothes, they play along with it, not seeing the harm in subjecting their daughters to boxing, wrestling, armed combat, and other previously male dominated occupations.

Women and men are interchangeable, there is nothing special about either, a girl can do anything a guy can do, and should.

But the Christian gospel insists that women are to be treated in a special way. Their femininity is to be guarded and protected, a man shouldn’t be body slamming a woman, or “riding her” , taking her down, pinning her chest to chest, or grabbing any body part for leverage. A man should not ever “do combat” with a woman, as Joel so eloquently says.

In a saner time, any one would realize that, it would be a given.

The “nerve” Joel touched is that he wouldn’t go along with the lie of radical, androgynous feminism , he stood for his faith in Jesus Christ, and te honor and respect for women that Judeo Christianity has always promoted.

The reason for the visceral response from so many is because people know in their hearts that it is a lie, that there is nothing special, (dare I say sacred?) about femininity, and that a woman is the same as a man.

So vicious haters have called Joel’s courage into question and accused him of being a sexist and (incredibly) of “disrespecting women and their accomplishments”! They get nervous who serve a lie.

Another reason for the passion which went the other way, that is people passionately in support of Joel, is because people are beginning to realize that the feminist experiment has been a colossal anti christian failure, ruining lives and families and engendering sexual confusion in our society.

In the area of athletics alone Feminism has wreaked havoc, and sports lovers know it. The Title IX mandate which sought to equalize college athletics has been the death of hundreds of once successful University baseball, lacrosse, football and wrestling programs in the interest of radically equalizing the quota’s of college athletes according to gender.

J Robinson the successful head wrestling coach at the University of Minnesota says that 400 college wrestling programs have been eliminated due to Title IX. People know this but can’t be too outspoken about it for fear of being considered sexist.

Therefore Joel spoke for a lot of people, when he followed his faith and his conscience and not the dictates of feminism. It’s not what he set out to do,for I know Him, but His act too has had unforseen consequences.

There are other nerves that this has touched, such as the idol of sports success, for Joel gave up the coveted title of State Champion, Iowa wrestling, for his faith in Christ. This no doubt convicts many who have compromised in the “Win at any cost” culture of our day.

We have found in the wake of this that there are many feminist men, who have no problem putting their daughter out on a mat, to be “grappled with” hoping to see her dominate a young man. Feminism is a philosophy, it is the rejection of the God assigned sexual roles, an expression of rebellion against our Creator.

I doubt Joel took all of this into consideration, he just followed his faith in a simple manner and was willing to pay the temporal price without complaint. But He sure touched a nerve , didn’t he?



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18 Responses to How Joel Touched a Nerve

  1. Truth hurts those who hate the truth!

  2. Neil says:

    Yes, and the truth sounds like hate to those that hate the truth!

    Excellent article. Glad to see brave young men like this in action.

  3. Mr Motivator says:

    this comment is meant as no mocking of faith, or as any form of hate, but i must ask…. how can this be such a big deal, when the bible tells of many different ways in which women should be treated. does it not mention of the father that would rather give up his 2 “untouched” daughters, rather than letting a stranger get molested.. (Genesis 19)
    “Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes.”

    also how can men state what women can and cant do when jesus himself allowed women to follow him and his desciples
    “Luke 8:1-3
    1Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,
    2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
    3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”

    im not proclaiming to be for or against women doing anything which men feel it is alright to do, but i think, personaly, that women and their descisions should be respected. there equality should not have to be made into a segragative circumstance, after all doesnt it say to respect mother and father…. ie… male and female

    • Paul Song says:

      Hi Mr. M,

      I’ve read your comments and would like to first of all commend your frankness and scrutiny. I doubt anyone would want to believe or commit to anything blindly. That said, I would like to correct some misunderstandings and even dare to make suggestions.

      First of all, it has never been a Christian belief that women are inferior and that they don’t have a voice of their own. Remember that there were prominent women even in the OT such as Deborah and Esther, and that the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection were women (The Resurrection was an incredible event that would be hard to believe even if it was testified by a “reliable” witness, but the Bible makes no attempt in trying to change the fact that women, who were deemed “unreliable” in their culture, were the primary witnesses.) Furthermore, the NT records women who served as prophetesses and such.

      Having said that, the Bible is firm in its stance on authority roles: As the Father is the head of the Godhead, so Christ is head of the Church; and as Christ is head of the Church, so husbands are heads of their households. Should we say the Father disrespects or mistreats Jesus because of His authority over Him? Does Christ mistreat or abuse the Church because we’re in submission to Him? Was it not Abraham who implored God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah multiple times, and God took him seriously? Surely then, a husband’s authority over his wife doesn’t mean he should lord over her. And the same goes with the role of parents over their children – children have their voices, but the father has the final say.

      Secondly, if we come with the presupposition that democratic consensus is the answer to all of world’s problems, I can see some merit to accusing alleged suppression of women’s decisions as being “criminal.” But is this so? Let’s take parent-child relationship as an example again. Would it be morally wrong to deny a child’s plea to eat only chocolates for dinner? It would be utterly “undemocratic” to do so, but no caring person would cry foul against the parent’s veto.

      Now, I understand that a husband’s relationship with his wife is of a different nature than that of parent and child. I’m certainly not suggesting that men are more mature and intellectually superior to women. But can we say that male and female are made exactly the same? Several years ago, I read a newspaper article about female firefighters appealing to the qualification agency to lower the load-carrying ability threshold from something like 120lbs to something like 90lbs. I’m not sure about you, but if a person can’t rescue an average-sized person from danger, he/she is no material for a firefighter. And I submit to you that males and females differ besides strength differences, without listing them out.

      We have a phenomenon today where churches are saying, “We should revise our stance on certain traditional positions on matters such as homosexuality, female ordination, etc. because times have changed.” What these people are essentially saying is that they no longer wish to recognize Christ as head of the Church, for they have no regard for what Christ has already said on these matters. As it were, our churches have become “democratic.” And since they fail to recognize Christ’s headship over the Church, it naturally follows that they fail to distinguish male/female roles in the church. And ultimately, confusion of “gender roles” result in complete confusion of “gender” itself, as we’re witnessing today.

  4. How absolutely excellent and encouraging to read something like this!! Praise the Lord for those willing to stand!

  5. Belinda says:

    Dear Mr Motivator,
    The way I read my bible is to have the Words center on God, and not man. I am very weary of my attitude towards God’s word and study to show myself approved. just to take one part of your reply: Lots daughters has a different significance if you understand Eastern and Jewish Culture of “entertaining strangers”. The strangers where not mere strangers but angelic messengers, that would have had protection at all costs. Also if you read men seeking to “know” (sexually) the ‘strangers’ who where men. This has nothing to do with the context in which you bring up the account of Lots daughters. I as a women, share Pastor Bill’s convictions. This young man, Joel, is willing to die to self, for the conviction of his faith. Praise God Almighty. This is Glory to God. We were made to glorify God. My hope is that you too would respect this young mans decision for Christ Jesus, and the simplicity of his faith. God’s riches blessing. May you grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Saviour, Yeshua.

  6. Mr Motivator says:

    thanks for the reply….i can appreciate what your saying and i do respect the decisions that Joel made. i myself, am a Christian, in the sense that i believe Jesus was sent to die for everyone, however i sometimes struggle when trying to understand certain religious concepts. i am currently studying criminology and my focus is based on religious terrorism, and i have read not just the bible, but other religious texts cover to cover. the trouble i have is, i tend to read logically, which when reading certain parts of the bible leads me to find contradictions. i think i will have to spend more time reading into certain parts, in order for me to truly understand what they are trying to say.

  7. Duane says:

    Please tell Joel that we appreciate his stand. The Scriptures are clear that there will be times of sacrifice and even suffering in this life: in order that others might see Jesus (for some to be drawn to Him while many will be offended), and that God will be glorified. It is refreshing to see a young man of his age to resist the pull and pressures of the world in order to follow Christ. A trophy or a medallion is a poor sustitute for a pure conscience. Joel’s record already declares what kind of wrestler he is, and his lack of a trophy shows what kind of disciple he is. Well done.

  8. IrishSoonerMom says:

    Way to go Joel! Our family is so proud of you and your family for standing up for what is right.

  9. Mr. Motivator,

    There are no real contradictions in the Bible, just “apparent” ones, which, with study, one is able to discern the problem isn’t really a problem after all. In the Judeo-Christian faiths, there is no such thing as terrorism, since God would not approve of it. If you are interested in discussion on this subject, I am more than willing to entertain questions at my e-mail, which can be found on my blog.

  10. Maria Kneas says:

    Joel reminds me of Eric Liddel.

  11. Shiloh says:

    Very well said, Pastor Randles, very well said.

    As a Christian father and grandfather, I can not begin to imagine parents who would allow their daughters or granddaughters to participate in such a contact activity. Where have their minds gone? It would seem that in this “enlightened” age many have been given over to reprobate minds, incapable of rational thought. Decades ago, when Biblical morality was the norm in this nation, women (young and old) were treated with respect and dignity. To be sure, there have always been those who have not adhered to God’s desires for His ultimate creation, mankind, but we are living now in a time of absolute rebellion to His commandments, ignorantly or knowingly, but both without excuse.

    America is experiencing the results of kicking God out of its government, businesses, schools, homes and even many churches, and this one event in the middle of Iowa not only reflects that, but also one young man’s decision to stand against that tide of folly and lift up his Lord.

    Congratulations, Joel. You just won a crown.

  12. lilyonthevally says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for the testimony of a son of the youth pastor of your church. I also thank his pastor who stands besides him. He stood up for his faith to do what is right although the world might have accused him. I am so impressed with the kind of integrity to stand against the cloud by his faith. I know that this young man doesn’t live for the prize of this world. I believe that he won the truly victory by not compromising. He could have forgotten even though he has won the state champion, but I will remember him because of his love for the Lord. Again, I would like to thank him for teaching us to not compromise! Yes, he truly reminds me of Eric Liddle, who stood up for his faith and refused to run on Sundays for the gold medal on olympic.

  13. john says:

    same sex marriages, gay agenda, femanism, murder, porn, drugs , sex ,theft, violence,movies, tv shows, Hollywood, there you go again.

  14. Vicki says:

    Mr. Motivator: Your comments seem sincere, and for that I applaud you. I want to point out a flaw in your logic that I’ve seen many times used by those who read the bible with no desire for truth, and with which they deceive others. There is a world of difference between a historically correct report, and a command from God. Many times throughout the bible a prophet, king or group of people get miraculously delivered from their trouble by God, and yet immediately forget His faithfulness when the next occasion arises. They cross seas and rivers on dry land, receive food from the sky, are told to take the land promised and then balk in fear at the size of its’ inhabitants- and spend the next 40 years in the desert. God did not command that man to hand over his daughters, he obviously acted badly on his own, and it is historically reported. Period

    As to male and female, at every stage of life it is obvious we are created different, and have different, but complementary, roles to fill. Both are required for healthy, whole-hearted children to be trained up into Godly maturity, a benefit to themselves, their families and society at large. We refuse to see this truth to our own shame and peril, both now and ongoing. Can you imagine how many lives would have remained unspoiled by drugs had a loving father been in the home? How many suicides would not have happened had parents stayed together and saw marriage as what it is- a secure haven for children and God’s way of training US up into maturity and selflessness, as well as a living and visible picture of the relationship of Christ to the church. Can you just imagine what society would look like if parents once again raised girls to revel in their God-given roles, boys to be young men of honor who protect their ‘weaker vessels’ in love? Homosexuality would be nearly nonexistent (sin always is present, but not always accepted to the degree of devastation this has caused), and how many lives would be saved from aids?

    It all starts at worldview, and ours has been based on a lie for quite sometime. When pop psychology replaced God’s word in our society, the deceiver gained a foothold. There is nothing untouched by its’ twisted form of ‘help’, and one of the signs is this girl who wants to be like a man- she will inevitably be hurt by this notion in ways she cannot foresee, but her parents should. They should be guarding her femininity AND her purity long before she has any ability or experience to do so herself. Sadly, they, too, are a product of pop psychology that denies basic human biology and all its’ ramifications.

    Joel- God’s blessings to you, though your reward may be stored up in heaven alone. That’s enough for anyone. Mr. Motivator- keep seeking with ALL your heart, because God’s word NEVER returns void – that’s His promise to all who humbly seek Him. And IGNORE what you learn in psychology and read the bible instead- Proverbs is tremendous for wise living.

  15. DeDe in Guthrie says:

    Lord, bless Joel for his stand to honor your word and himself. Next, please bless his family for bringing him up in the nurture and admonition of your holy word.
    Thank you for your Godly example!

  16. Ken Wald says:

    That’s all I can say is AMEN to this. Also, lets stop sending our women to the front lines in Afganistan or any where else. Has this country gone mad!

  17. Karen Edgington says:


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